EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) – Crews Thursday continued to battle the Caldor Fire as additional resources arrived to help just in time to take advantage of the mild weather, officials say. The overnight hours could be crucial to the firefight.
“The fire rapidly grew, we had to scramble,” said Capt. Keith Wade, public information officer for the Caldor Fire. “When the incident started, we had around 200 firefighters.”READ MORE: Footage Released Of Carjacking Suspect's Assault On Sacramento Sheriff's Deputy
It wasn’t enough as the blaze blew up and burned through towns, while additional resources were deployed to El Dorado County to help.
“We have over 600 firefighters here now and they’re working their tails off,” Wade said.
Wade drove us through the Caldor Fire basecamp where crews get precious hours of rest. He said of the 600 firefighters assigned to the Caldor Fire, about half of them are were in camp while the other half were out battling flames.
Some firefighters who haven’t been home for weeks were working 24-hour shifts.
“What we essentially do is build a city here,” Wade said of the camp. “We build a kitchen, a cafeteria, give all the services you need in daily life.“READ MORE: President Biden Releases Federal Funds To Aid Fire Hose Shortage In California
The long firefights take a toll on first responders.
“Their faces tell me the story. They’re exhausted, but they’ve also got the fortitude to carry through,” Wade said of the Caldor Fire crews.
And there’s hope on the horizon. With less wind and more crews forecasted, the Caldor Fire could be contained soon.
“These moments when the wind dies down is the time we pick up the pace,” Wade said.
While crews work, evacuees wait to be allowed back home. Cal Fire said Thursday that evacuees may not be able to go home for another 1-2 weeks.
“That fire was spreading 1,000 acres an hour at a certain point,” Wade said. “We have erratic winds. It gets pushed down to a community, next thing you know we have a disaster. We’re going to avoid that.”MORE NEWS: Thief Takes Off With Antelope Woman’s Bright Yellow Cotton Candy Trailer
Officials say they’re expecting winds to pick back up this weekend which could make this fire unpredictable once again. They’re asking evacuees to be patient just a little bit longer.