Weather Affects Lake Tahoe Fire

By: Candice Sorensen Email
By: Candice Sorensen Email

(CBS/AP) A growing army of firefighters launched an aggressive attack Monday to corral a forest fire that had destroyed more than 200 buildings in less than a day and forced about 1,000 people to flee neighborhoods near the southern edge of Lake Tahoe.

Wind slowed to about 12 mph during the night, after gusting as high as 35 mph late Sunday, and temperatures dipped into the 30s, aiding firefighters' efforts to corral the flames in the heavily wooded, parched terrain.

Fire officials said they have two days to get the fire under control because high wind and low humidity are forecast for Wednesday. "We have a window right now where we're really trying to aggressively attack this fire," said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in Sacramento.

The National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory warning people from South Lake Tahoe to Carson City that the heavy airborne ash would make it difficult to see and breathe.

State and federal fire officials had warned of a potentially active wildfire season in the Sierra Nevada following an unusually dry winter. The annual May 1 snow survey found the Tahoe-area snowpack at just 29 percent of normal levels, the lowest since 1988.


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