Snow Cannons Used to Battle Wildfires in California Ski Resorts
31st August 2021
Last modified on September 6th, 2021
The cannons were turned on at Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort and with the help of fire fighting teams the resort has been saved. Kirkwood is under threat, Heavenly has been evacuated and Squaw Valley has been partially closed due to smoke. UPDATED
Some structures were destroyed at Sierra-at-Tahoe, but the main buildings at the base of the resort remain intact.
The chairlifts appeared to be unscathed, but a maintenance building on the upper mountain burnt down.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes due to the Caldor Fire which has been burning since August 14th.
It is currently 14% contained and has covered 165,00 acres.
It has so far destroyed 650 structures.
The ski resort of Sierra-at-Tahoe is in the Eldorado National Forest.
— Jan Lenaerts (@lenaertsjan) August 30, 2021
“Despite the intensity of the flames, the resort’s snow guns and firefighters working through the night appear to have saved the ski lifts and structures.” https://t.co/7Zs7xsTSeH
— The Storm Skiing Journal & Podcast (@StormSkiJournal) August 31, 2021
“We have so much gratitude for the firefighters and emergency crews working around the clock to get this thing under control,” said a social media post from Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort.
“Be prepared and stay safe out there!”
As the #CaldorFire grows near, we’ve done everything we can to prepare. We have so much gratitude for the firefighters and emergency crews working around the clock to get this thing under control. Be prepared and stay safe out there! #SierraAtTahoe https://t.co/IJ50bZp6Un
— Sierra-at-Tahoe (@Sierra_at_Tahoe) August 28, 2021
The fires are now getting closer to the ski resort of Kirkwood on Highway 88 to the south of Lake Tahoe.
Fire crews have been using the ski lifts to monitor and fight the blaze.
Half of the fire crew that fought the fire at Sierra-at-Tahoe have now been deployed to Kirkwood which is the next ski area under threat.
— Brian Hickey (@kcraBrianHickey) August 31, 2021
Crews at the Caldor Fire near Lake Tahoe have been using the ski resort’s chair lift to quickly travel up to survey the Kirkwood area.
Flames are encroaching on the resort, with aerial crews reporting the fire is likely to jump Highway 88.
— SFGATE (@SFGate) August 30, 2021
The Caldor Fire is one of 13 current wildfires in the state of California.
This summer 6,913 fires have burned through 1.76 million acres of land in California alone.
Other states in the west are experiencing fires driven by high-temperatures and historic drought linked to the climate crisis.
The governors of California and Nevada have declared a state of emergency for their respective state.
The ski resort of Heavenly has also been affected and people have now been ordered to leave the area.
“As of Aug. 30, Heavenly Mountain Resort is under a Mandatory Evacuation from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection,” said the resort in a statement.
“We remain in constant communication and are offering our support to the local Fire Department, Cal Fire and United States Forest Service and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
“We extend our deepest gratitude to those on the front lines fighting these fires to keep us safe during this difficult time.”
Looking SE right now toward the Heavenly ski resort. pic.twitter.com/RpxISgXvY1
— Kirk Siegler (@KirkSiegler) August 31, 2021
Some of the area around the ski resort of Squaw Valley has also been closed.
The U.S. Forest Service issued a closure of Tahoe National Forest & the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, due to wildfire threat in the region. The order extends from Aug. 22 thru Sep. 6 and affects some trails at our mountains. See details: https://t.co/xsh4FTFxxD pic.twitter.com/TPGsTI7SXA
— Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (@squawalpine) August 23, 2021
Summer operations at the resort of Northstar have also been affected.
The flames are some way away, but widespread smoke in the area has disrupted activities with lifts closed and summer activities on hold.
43,000 Californians are currently under evacuation orders and more than 500 households are in shelters due to the fires that are raging in parts of the north of the state.
More than 13,500 firefighters are working to try to contain the blazes.
Hundreds of homes have been destroyed.
Check out this time-lapse video filmed near Sierre-at-Tahoe from the US Forest Service:
Some of the web cameras in the ski area remain operating and show the impact of the blaze: Sierra-at-Tahoe web cameras
The #caldorfire made a destructive run along Hwy 50 on Sunday evening through the Strawberry and Twin Bridges, CA. Dozens of structures were destroyed and the fire burned through part of the @Sierra_at_Tahoe ski resort. pic.twitter.com/AZxJ39UVWW
— Justin Sullivan (@sullyfoto) August 30, 2021
New evacuations in #ElDoradoCounty for #PleasantValley. #CaldorFire now at 145,463 acres but 19% contained! @CALFIREAEU “We’re doing everything we can so the fire doesn’t make it into Tahoe.” Fire not to @Sierra_at_Tahoe but picture is of smoke there. https://t.co/PJJqeNXIlz pic.twitter.com/1RVtAtllmv
— South Tahoe Now (@SouthTahoeNow) August 28, 2021
Here at PlanetSKI we are following the progress of the fire and the battle to contain it, and will updating with all the latest news.
Do check back…