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Jun-28-2007 11:59printcomments

Fire at Lake Tahoe Claims Hundreds of Homes

Witnesses describe a scene from the Twilight Zone with the charred remnants of bicycles, chimneys, fireplaces and foundations.

Fire near Reno, Nevada
Photo: North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District

(SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. ) - A resurgence of flames in a California wildfire trapped two firefighters Wednesday, as they moved to evacuate people from 300 homes in a threatened subdivision.

It was a race for firefighters trying to bring the turbulent wildfire under control throughout much of the day, and then a small reprieve came when winds lightened. Firefighters took the opportunity to expand their defensive lines.

The fire became a political event when the governors of the two affected states arrived; California's Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nevada's Jim Gibbons talked to firefighters and officials while touring the devastated areas.

Witnesses describe a scene from the Twilight Zone with the charred remnants of bicycles, chimneys, fireplaces and foundations.

Hundreds remain under mandatory evacuation orders, and those who live in the areas already damaged by fire were still being asked to stay away.

The AP reports that many returned anyway — at least long enough to stuff more belongings into cars and trucks before leaving again.

Some people set up camps on their own properties, prepared to battle more flames should they arise. All told, around 2,000 people were evacuated, according to South Lake Tahoe Police.

The blaze has left more than 3,000 acres charred. That amounts to just under fire square miles. Fire officials say that as winds increase, more homes could be threatened, including some in the most affluent waterfront neighborhoods.

Several officials acknowledge that the said the winds potentially represent a high level of danger to firefighters on scene.




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