September 1, 2021 astatine 3:41 pm
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — A COVID-19 outbreak has sidelined a onslaught squad of 16 firefighters battling the monolithic Caldor Fire, which has burned much than 200,000 acres successful El Dorado County and is encroaching connected South Lake Tahoe.
California Department of Forest and Fire Protection incidental commandant Jeff Veik announced the nonaccomplishment of the crews and warned different firefighters to travel the agency’s COVID-19 protocols during a Tuesday operations briefing, SFGATE reported.
“We mislaid a full onslaught squad of crews yesterday, we mislaid a concern conception main owed to (being) COVID positive, truthful understand, bash not travel to this briefing without a disguise on,” helium said.
A onslaught squad consists of 5 occurrence engines — each staffed by 3 firefighters — positive a leader, said Henry Herrera, a nationalist accusation serviceman for Cal Fire. He said those 16 firefighters volition person to quarantine for 2 weeks, and did not person accusation connected wherever the onslaught squad was stationed oregon their vaccination status. He added that this is the archetypal outbreak connected the Caldor Fire.
Cal Fire estimates determination are 3,904 unit dedicated to battling the blaze, truthful the nonaccomplishment of the onslaught squad is not expected to person a large impact. However, Cal Fire is taking COVID-19 seriously, noting that aboriginal larger outbreaks could make existent staffing issues.
“We request each 1 of you to enactment healthy,” Veik told firefighters. “That past piece: emotions. Do not springiness 1 of the squad members — oregon the folks moving connected this incidental oregon immoderate of you — a hard clip astir a mask. They’re doing their job. If you’re that upset astir wearing a mask, travel speech to me, please, oregon 1 of the (incident commanders).”
The Caldor Fire has been burning toward Lake Tahoe from the southwest on Highway 50, climbing implicit a high-elevation Sierra Nevada acme and descending into the Tahoe Basin.
Officials reported advancement Wednesday successful the conflict to prevention communities connected the southbound extremity of Lake Tahoe from the approaching blaze.