The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

Fires Cease Yet Tensions Continue to Rise for Tahoe Landowners

Bay Area residents prepare for the worst as Tahoe residencies standoff with California fires.
Noah Berger
A single pool house stands out amongst a burning backdrop of fire and flames.

While the mass majority of the Lake Tahoe fires have been put under control, Bay Area residents dread returning to see if their vacation properties survived. 

What began in mid-July with a tree falling onto a PG&E powerline, has turned into a 963,276-acre wildfire known as the Dixie Fire, and another 212,907-acre wildfire named the Caldor fire. Combined, both fires have damaged 176 structures, destroyed 2332 residential and commercial buildings, injured five civilians, and even taken one civilian life according to the California government reports. As reports came in that the Dixie and several other wildfires were headed straight for Lake Tahoe, a Red Flag Warning was set in place and evacuations began immediately. Weeks later, National Weather Services gave residents the O.K. to return to South Lake Tahoe City and several other smaller communities. 

For many, news of being able to return comes as a relief. Regardless of size, property value, and overall fame worthiness, fires are indiscriminate in their destruction. While natural disasters in California (especially woodland communities like Woodside) are no uncommon occurrence, the fear of residents not being able to prevent their property from flames, is terrifying.

Thomas Beasley, a Woodside sophomore is one of many Bay Area residents whose family owns property in South Lake Tahoe City

“[Our property is] on a dirt road, so there is a lot of danger, but we have insurance, and hopefully, the firemen can do their job,” Beasley said.

He added that several generational families have bought into the Beasley home, recovery efforts and financial responsibilities will be a logistical nightmare to work out. Though financial struggles may be in mind for some, others remember a more tranquil Tahoe. Cole Forrest, another Bay Area resident, shared his experience.

“I remember, probably my favorite memory from the cabin was everything was covered in like a foot of snow, and there was like a big hill nearby, and I just walked up, I walked up the hill, it was snowing, and I sat down on like a stump. It was the most surreal experience in my entire life. I sat there for probably upwards of an hour and it was really, really, great,” Forrest said.

While some remember Tahoe for its snowy mountains, others picture a Tahoe in full bloom.

Evan Caldwell, a Woodside senior and Bay Area local recently came home to receive news of her family property facing the Dixie Fire and yet, only had pleasant memories to share.

“Tahoe is really great because there are really so many things to do year around there. One memory that sticks out to me is going up to Tahoe with family friends for the 4th of July weekend two summers ago,” Caldwell said.

For Caldwell, Tahoe brings memories of relaxation and family events, but for some, especially older owners, they say they remember a different Tahoe. 

“It’s not the first fire [our property has] survived either. To my knowledge, the first that [our house] survived was actually the Jones fire. It literally went past the backyard,” Forrest said. “The property has been owned by my family for a long time, but it was built long before that, in the early 1900s or early 20th century for an Olympic skier!”

There is one saving grace that comes from this event that would have been impossible 10 years ago. With the increase in digital security systems, families can rest easy from afar, knowing their properties are safe and sound. 

“We actually have a ring camera. Since the power came on, the fire ended up going around our house very narrowly no more than a mile away,” Forrest stated. 

While current thoughts on Lake Tahoe seem to range from worrisome to blissful memories, the bitter-sweet images that Tahoe manages to conjure reflect perfectly in the words of Forrest.

“I believe the property is insured, I think… Besides that, there’s not much else we could or would do.”

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About the Contributor
Amos Figueroa, Staff Writer
Amos Figueroa is a junior and first-year journalist. He enjoys writing about World News and cultural events happening all over. Amos hopes to both inform and educate readers through his accurate and sophisticated writing. In his free time, Amos enjoys reading dystopian novels, listening to music, and writing songs.