California – AFP
Thousands of people were ordered Monday to evacuate their homes on the south shore of California’s Lake Tahoe, a tourist attraction threatened by a fire that has been raging for more than two weeks.
The wildfire, dubbed the “Caldor Fire,” spread over more than 700 square miles, destroying hundreds of buildings and spewing thick smoke that caused major pollution in Northern California.
The flames continued to spread toward South Lake Tahoe, the tourist town located on the shores of the largest mountain pool in North America, on the border with the state of Nevada, fueled by winds and severe drought.
“The conditions and combustible materials are historically unprecedented,” chief Jeff Vick, the firefighter trying to put out the flames, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re going to put out this fire. But not today.”
The Caldor fire is just one of dozens of fires engulfing the western United States, a region prone to chronic drought exacerbated by the effects of climate change, and the fires burned more than seven thousand square miles, double the size of the rate used during this period of the year.
Tens of thousands of residents have been forced to flee the flames, often not knowing when they can return or even if they will find their homes intact.
In total, about 22,000 people have received deportation orders in the area.
In California alone, more than 15,000 firefighters were involved in putting out about 15 massive wildfires Monday morning.
The number and intensity of fires have increased in recent years in the western United States, with the fire season extending.
Experts link this phenomenon to global warming.