POLLOCK PINES (CBS13) — Caldor Fire evacuees from the area between Pollock Pines and Camino along Highway 50 can begin returning home after evacuation orders were downgraded to warnings Wednesday afternoon.
The exact area that can begin to repopulate is everywhere west of Sly Park Road, south of Slab Creek and east of Larsen Drive and Snow Road on the north side of Highway 50.READ MORE: Footage Released Of Carjacking Suspect's Assault On Sacramento Sheriff's Deputy
Cal Fire said this goes into effect immediately, while all other evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect.
Pollock Pines resident Jason Souza left unsure if his home would be standing when he returned.
“I thought it was getting close. Probably a 75% chance the way fires have been going in California,“ he said.
Souza was fearful of losing his most valuable possessions but was lucky to be back.
“I’m very blessed to still have my home,” he said. “Very happy to be back.”
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office advises residents to report any suspicious activity when they return home. Evacuees have been away for weeks after the Caldor Fire broke out and tore through El Dorado County.READ MORE: President Biden Releases Federal Funds To Aid Fire Hose Shortage In California
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure they have a peaceful return to their house,” said Sgt. Palmberg with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Palmberg said repopulating all evacuated areas will take time.
“A lot of it is proximity to the fire, upcoming weather trends,” he said. “The fire is further from the area that was repopulated today.”
Officials are also keeping an eye on infrastructure. If power lines and water haven’t been affected, neighbors will get home sooner.
“We’re at a point now where it’s safe enough to let people into this area,” said Palmberg.
Officials are looking forward to lifting evacuation orders in the coming days but it’s all based on fire activity. If the weather moves this fire in any sort of threatening direction communities may have to wait. Officials are asking communities to be patient.
The lifted evacuations come as the fire has continued to make its way east toward South Lake Tahoe, where mandatory evacuations have already reached.MORE NEWS: Thief Takes Off With Antelope Woman’s Bright Yellow Cotton Candy Trailer
Fire officials advised returning residents to run their taps for a few minutes to ensure they have fresh running water.