Evacuation orders were issued Monday for more than 30,000 residents of South Lake Tahoe ahead of what fire officials are calling an 'ominous' day fighting the Caldor Fire.
Fire crews prepared to deal with high winds on Monday as the Caldor fire continues to encroach on Lake Tahoe, after burning more than 177,000 acres so far in the El Dorado National Forest area.
Three separate evacuation orders were issued by fire officials that cover the entire South Lake Tahoe area west of the Nevada state line.
"The winds today are going to make it more challenging to reduce or slow the spread of the fire," said Henry Herrera, a spokesperson for Cal Fire. "The combination of the dry vegetation and the hot weather and the strong winds are going to pose a challenge even though there is some rock in that area."
"There is potential for the fire to move at a rapid rate of spread like it did yesterday or even faster," Herrera continued.
Containment of the fire has dropped below 14 percent as of Monday morning CalFire officials said. At least 472 homes and 11 commercial properties have been confirmed destroyed and some fiber lines that are linked to a cell tower were also damaged.
More than 20,000 structures are still being threatened by the Caldor fire. A red flag warning is in effect across the Northern Sierra area for the next few days. Wind and dry conditions have been fueling the rapid spread of the blaze as it pushed toward the scenic lakeside community. The fire started Aug. 14 in rugged terrain, forcing firefighters to lug equipment and hoses from Highway 50 to put out spot fires that have erupted.