The decision to flee their home in the hills above Lake Tahoe on Thursday was realized when Johnny White and Lauren McCauley saw flames on the webcam at their local ski resort.

The Dixie fire has devastated 500 homes in the Sierra Nevada since Aug. 14, and at 1.160 square kilometers it is the second-largest in the history of the state.

It stood at 12 percent, threatening more than 17.000 structures.

According to authorities, at least 461 houses, 11 business buildings and 165 smaller buildings have been burned down.

Climate change has made the West warmer and drier for the last 30 years and will make the weather more extreme and forest fires more disastrous, scientists say.

The huge lake, known for its water clarity and the granite peaks around it, is cloaked in thick smoke of dangerous proportions.

Others say they have been keeping a close eye on the Caldor fire, which is threatening the nearby community of Twin Bridges as the massive blaze nears Lake Tahoe.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a recommendation for big swathes of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties by Thursday morning.

2020 California wildfires

The 2020 California wildfire season, part of the 2020 Western United States wildfire season, was a record-setting year of wildfires in California. By the end of the year, 9,917 fires had burned 4,397, (wikipedia)

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Caldor Fire

The Caldor Fire is an active wildfire burning in El Dorado County, California, about 15 miles southeast of Placerville. As of August 17, 2021, it had burned more than 30, (wikipedia)

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. Lying at 6,225 ft , it straddles the state line between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. (wikipedia)

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is a fire department of the California Natural Resources Agency in California, United States. (wikipedia)

Angora Fire

Was a 2007 wind-driven wildfire in El Dorado County, California. It started near North Upper Truckee Road subdivision near Angora Lakes, Fallen Leaf Lake, Echo Lake and South Lake Tahoe (wikipedia)