The city of South Lake Tahoe, usually bustling with summer tourists, was eerily empty and the air thick and hazy with smoke from the Caldor Fire, one of two major fires burning in the same area. After being told to leave, around 22,000 people clogged the main street for several hours, consuming drought-stricken vegetation.
According to the National Weather Service, Wednesday's weather conditions would be low humidity, dry fuel, and wind gusts of up to 30 mph (48 km/h)
Courtney Coats spokeswoman for U.S. Forest Service.
According to Chief Henry Herrera, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Henry Herrera, the fire was located 3 miles (5 km) from South Lake Tahoe.
Officials from South Lake Tahoe said that only a few residents resisted Monday's evacuation order. However, Tuesday was a day of concern for most people about the next steps in the fire.
"I am worried about what will be there when people return." He said that people want to return to their homes and that is what he would do.
The strong winds pushed the Caldor Fire over two major highways, burning mountain cabins as it fell down the slopes to the Tahoe Basin. Last week, thick smoke prevented air firefighters from tackling the fires. Dominic Polito, a firefighter, said that since then nearly twenty-three helicopters and three aircraft tankers have poured thousands of gallons water and retardant onto the fire.
The Lake Tahoe area is usually a year-round recreational paradise offering beaches, water sports, hiking, ski resorts and golfing. While South Lake Tahoe is bustling with outdoor activities, Nevada tourists can gamble at the major casinos just across Stateline.
On Tuesday, however, only a handful of tourists were still present at the Montbleu Resort Casino and Spa's casino floor. According to the state board controlling gaming, casino regulators are monitoring the operations of the city's four largest gambling properties.
Hotels house evacuees, firefighters and other emergency personnel. Harrah's, Harveys Tahoe Casino, Montbleu Resort and Hard Rock all have over 2,200 hotel rooms.
Nevada Gov. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak encouraged residents to be ready, stating that there wasn't a timetable for when evacuations might need to be ordered. He noted that ash was falling upon him, even though the fire was only 20 miles away (32 km).