TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) – The Caldor Fire has been active for 13-days. It has burned over 143,000 acres and is 12% contained. 

“That smoke gets in the house and it didn’t make a difference if you had a K95 Mask or an N95 Mask. You could still feel those particles. That was a concern to us,” Shawn Pickett said. 

Bay Area resident Shawn Pickett is describing the conditions from the Caldor wildfire he and his family experienced earlier this week at their home in South Lake Tahoe. 

He took photos for visual perspective.

“Once we got up there, when we arrived in South Lake, it was clear in the morning but in the afternoon very quickly the smoke came in. What people don’t understand is that smoke contains harmful ash. So, not only were we dealing with smoke but we were dealing with particles of ash, and you know that ash if it’s reaching the house, that ash can carry fire,” Pickett said. 

It was out of concern for his home’s safety that prompted going up to South Lake to clear defensible space around the property.

“To make sure our house, we did everything that we can to protect it and once we did that it was time for us to leave. Especially with the threat of that fire pushing east and pushing southeast toward Kirkwood,” Pickett said. 

According to officials at the Lake Tahoe visitors authority, a forecast of calmer winds and a major influx of firefighters with heavy equipment like this cal fire air tanker dropping retardant is providing a sense of optimism after 12 days of aggressive spread. 

However, Shawn Pickett took no chances. He decided that he and his family would self-evacuate before the possibility of the road became unpassable.

“We wanted to get out because Highway 88, we don’t know how long that’s going to stay open,” Pickett said. 

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s evacuation map is a great resource for checking the status of road closures, evacuation areas, and shelter locations.