LTBMU Caldor Fire Closure Area (9/18 update)
The LTBMU has issued a Forest Order that closes a significant part of the forest in and around where the Caldor Fire burned as well as where dozer lines were constructed. This closure is effective September 18th through December 31st, 2021.
Here is a map of the closed areas:
While we were hoping some of the areas outside the fire scar might be able to remain open to recreation (with closures specifically when heavy equipment was working), the Forest Service order is more extensive than our recommendations. We continue to be in communication with the Forest Service and will look for opportunities to re-open some of the closed areas as dozer line rehabilitation work is completed. Specifically, we are pushing to get the Tahoe Mountain and Angora Ridge areas reopened as quickly as possible as well as Powerline, Cold Creek and Monument Pass Trail.
Impacts of Caldor Fire
First off, no words can express the incredible amount of gratitude we have for all the firefighters that helped protect the homes in the Tahoe Basin. The fact that we are discussing rebuilding trail networks rather than entire neighborhoods is a testament to the skill and dedication they displayed while fighting the Caldor Fire.
Secondly, we are heartbroken for all those throughout El Dorado County that lost homes, especially in the community of Grizzly Flats and along the Highway 50 Corridor. If you are able to contribute financially, you can make a donation through the El Dorado Community Foundation here.
Finally, while we start to repopulate the South Lake Tahoe area, the fire is not out yet and many evacuation warnings and orders still remain. Please stay vigilant, be safe, and watch out for an increased fire and police presence in the Tahoe Region. The forest remains closed at least through September 17th and it could still be sometime before the burn scar and surrounding areas are reopened to the public as they mitigate safety risks. PLEASE do not attempt to enter the burn zone or perform any trail work.
As of 9/7/21, the list of trails we work on that are impacted by the Caldor Fire from either fire itself or dozer fire-line construction includes Toads, Corral, Sidewinder, Connector, Armstrong, Cedar, Hawley Grade, Powerline, Cold Creek, Christmas Valley, and Railroad, and many more outside of the Tahoe Basin, including Thunder Mountain, Horse Canyon, Castle Point, Silver Fork, Caples Crest, Cody Lake, Cody Meadows, Strawberry Creek, Pony Express, Lovers Leap, Sayles Canyon, and Bryan Meadows.
Our events this fall, including Rose to Toads and the Corral Night Ride, are postponed – we’ll make every effort to hold some sort of event in October to show our resilience and commitment to rebuilding, stayed tuned for details.
Meanwhile, Patrick, our Trails Director, is working diligently on mapping impacted trails and looking for grant funding to rebuild. We appreciate everyone who’s offered a place to stay for those of us evacuated and all the positive support. Stay staff everyone!
How to Help Rebuild the Trails
Once the Forest Service allows us to get back in the burn area to assess the trails, we’ll begin planning and scheduling volunteer trail days to start making repairs. To stay in the loop on volunteer opportunities for Caldor Fire impacted trails please fill out our volunteer interest form and select “Caldor Fire Trail Repairs” as the project you are interested in.
Crew Leader Training
If you want to become a Volunteer Crew Leader for TAMBA so you can help lead trail days for the repairs that will be needed, please fill out this interest form for our upcoming fall training course. Dates are still TBD based on when the forest will reopen.
If you want to donate to help with the repairs to the damaged trails you can do at the bottom of this page. In the “Note” box please indicate you want your donation/membership dues to be used towards Caldor Fire Trail Repairs. Donations will be critical to help pay to repair damaged bridges and signs.
What will be needed?
Once the area is deemed safe to do so, TAMBA staff and Crew Leaders will work with the US Forest Service to inspect the damaged trails to identify what the priorities will be for this fall and next summer.
Here are some of the things we expect to look for:
- Threats to health and safety – One of our first priorities will be to mitigate any potential threats to the health and safety of our volunteers and trail crews while they are working. This will include the removal of hazardous trees in the work areas.
- Repair of critical infrastructure – Before the trails can be reopened to the public, we need to ensure critical trail infrastructure is safe for users to travel on. This will mainly involve the repair/replacement of damaged bridges and trail tread, but will also include replacing signage. Luckily, much of our infrastructure (retaining walls/steps/armoring) is done with rock and is resistant to damage from fire, however, there will be repairs needed in many areas from dozer lines and removal of downed trees.
- Erosion control – The fire will have burned off much of the vegetation that helps slow runoff from rainstorms and the spring snowmelt. We need to make sure the trail is hardened to be able to handle the expected increase in runoff due to the lack of vegetation especially in spots where burned trees/logs had been supporting the trail tread. This will involve armoring the tread, building retaining walls, and cleaning drains.
Continue to check our Instagram for updates as our firefighters continue to protect our town. Additional coverage of the fire has made it internationally, and check out this article in BetaMTB about the fire and its impact on our trails.