Lake Tahoe tourist season impacted by Caldor Fire smoke

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KCRA/CNN0 – Driving through south Lake Tahoe and across the state line, the usually packed area is now a ghost town filled with smoke from the Caldor Fire.

Tourist Michael Savocchi said, “You can’t really describe it to someone to someone from where you’re from. You’re having a pizza and there’s ashes landing in your pizza.”

One New York family is making the best of their vacation by sticking on masks and playing cards on a quiet patio.

Jose, also a tourist, said, “We are from Ecuador South America. We had planned this some months in advance.”

One couple was going to be in Tahoe for a few nights. Now they’re headed to Yosemite, where wildfires are further away.

The few people in South Lake were walking around with masks on tight as the area bears down.

There’s a long-term closure due to the wildfire smoke. Heavenly is going to be closed for the remainder of the summer. That means all of its attractions are not happening. The gondolas are at a standstill.

The U.S. Forest Service shut down the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit because of the extreme fire conditions. State, federal, and some private beaches are also closed.

The Meyers Mountain Market will not happen tomorrow and was canceled last week as well. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t even a question,” said organizer Leon Abravanel. “We had to do what’s right.”

Organizers said the event brings in over 40 vendors and around 4,000 people weekly. “If you have a market people come, and you don’t want to be the person who hosts the market and people are coming out in 400, 500 AQI.”

Down the road, the owner of “Frescana Mexican Bistro” said his business is struggling because of all the smoke. “It’s impacted us tremendously,” explained Tim Cain. “We’re contemplating every day do we stay open, do we close?”

Cain has lived here for nearly 50 years. It’s a problem, he said, is sadly becoming a yearly ordeal. “Unfortunately, August seems to be the month of the smoke in Tahoe for the last five years, six years.”

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