LTBMU staff have mitigated immediate hazard trees along roads and trails within the Caldor Fire area, but the public should be aware that many hazards still exist including fire-weakened trees and smoldering pockets of fuel. The LTBMU recommends that anyone accessing the Caldor Fire area exercise caution as hazards will continue to be present over the next five to ten years.
While firefighters were able to successfully keep the Caldor Fire from claiming homes and businesses in South Lake Tahoe, the fast-moving wildfire laid waste to some of the region’s favorite trails.
Just because the order has been lifted doesn't mean all trails are safe. Corral, Sidewinder, and Cedar trails are fairly clear, but Toads and Armstrong Connector still have dozens of downed trees with major holes and burned bridges, according to the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA). Members have been out in the burn scar for a few weeks, working on mitigating damaged trails. They are also asking everyone stay on the trails due to erosion and safety concerns.
The nonprofit Tahoe Fund has launched the Caldor Trails Restoration Fund to aid in the extensive trail restoration work that will be required.
The most popular mountain bike trails in the South Lake Tahoe area sustained heavy damage from the Caldor Fire, including burned bridges, signs and trail retaining structures. Between damage from fire itself as well as from dozers constructing suppression lines, more than 15 miles of trail suffered damage in the Tahoe Basin,” said Patrick Parsel, TAMBA trails director. "Additionally, areas that burned hottest will be prone to increased damage from winter storms due to lack of vegetation and hydrophobic soils which can contribute to debris flows and landslides. We will need to rebuild the damaged infrastructure as well as mitigate the potential for increased runoff by installing erosion control measures.”
Trail builders anticipate there will be increased maintenance needs on these trails over the next 10 years as trees come down and stump/root holes collapse. Donations to the Caldor Trails Restoration Fund will be used to repair the diverse trails that provide experiences for hikers, mountain bikers and other recreational users. Trail restoration efforts will leverage innovative, sustainable designs to protect the environment and minimize climate change impacts.
Learn more and donate to the Caldor Trails Restoration Fund at www.tahoefund.org.
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Closure orders on the Eldorado National Forest remain in effect within the Caldor Fire perimeter. For more information about the Eldorado National Forest, visit their website at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado.