Lake Tahoe History & Museums: 2007 Tahoe California Fire, Wildfire

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2007 Tahoe Fire

Lake Tahoe in California experienced a devastating fire in 2007; a wildfire that destroyed homes and affected many lives, but luckily left no fatalities. There was a prior fear that this season was going to be potentially active as far as fires go, but no one could really predict this disaster. Read More

In June 2007 a wildfire began on a ridge near South Lake Tahoe. It followed a very dry winter season with snow levels at 29 percent of normal. This fire frightened many who watched it as it was spurred on by heavy winds and low humidity, making it spread with great rapidity.

Displacing over 1,000 people and burning down 242 homes and damaging 35 others, the fire ultimately charred over 3,100 acres of forest. Over 60 commercial structures were also destroyed. Residents had little warning and had to evacuate quickly, often leaving most of their valuables behind. Property damage ranged at around $150 million. It was believed to be the result of an illegal campfire.

Families who fled from the towering flames found free rooms in hotels. They lost a mixture of expensive vacation homes, small cabins and modest houses set in the woods along the east of the ridge where the fire began.

The fear was that the aftermath would show long-term effects on the environment, but much work is being done to put in place erosion control solutions. All the debris from this fire has been removed and further work will be done to ensure no long-lasting effects.