On Monday of October 26, the Cisco Grove Campground experienced a wildfire occurrence before 3 a.m., leaving approximately 30 Tahoe locals devastated in its aftermath.
Northern California’s electrical corporation PG&E caused power outages to over its 345,000 patrons earlier in the night of October 25, a day before the incident. The company’s main reason for the power off is to anticipate the coming of the season’s strongest wildfire winds to occur across the state. Temperatures drop into freezing points, and a cold front starts blowing within the area. Additionally, Sierra Nevada’s ski hotels recorded higher than 100 mph gusts of wind, while the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning advisory. The dry and windy conditions that Tahoe experienced could open a most likely possibility for fire danger within the sector as the present time marks California’s biggest wildfire season this year.
Cisco Grove Campground, a half-hour west drive from Truckee and located on Donner Summit, experienced the raging wildfire. An official report about the incident details the events that transpired during the event.
At 2:53 a.m. on October 26, the Truckee Fire Protection District received a call about a fire raging at Cisco Grove Campground. The campground’s main building that houses both an apartment unit and a grocery store was burning when the first troop of firefighters arrived at the scene. The U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire responded and aided the Truckee firefighters to put out the blaze.
According to Truckee Fire Protection District’s public information officer Laura Brown, all of the main building’s occupants got safely evacuated from the wildfire with the help of the first fire troopers to respond to the incident. Additionally, the squad worked quickly to get the fire under control, preventing it from harming neighboring infrastructures and the nearby forest. Brown admitted that they got lucky to arrive at the scene quickly enough, and the firefighters labored to extinguish the fire right away despite that nights’ high wind difficulties.
Contrary to its name, Cisco Grove is not your average camping ground. Approximately 30 full-time citizens were residing there. Many of them live in tiny homes, others rent out apartments. Additionally, multiple of the renters inhabit old school buses that they later transformed into decent living spaces. Many of them also own RVs parked around the area’s vicinity.
It becomes strikingly hard to find affordable renting spaces in Lake Tahoe and Truckee, let alone during the coronavirus outbreak. Many newcomers originating from the Bay Area are checking up on real estate rates and competing over the few available long-term rentals in the place. Moreover, most of the Cisco Grove inhabitants work in many of Truckee and Lake Tahoe’s ski resorts. According to many of them, they found the place either through a Craigslist listing or word of mouth. For the tiny houses, the price could range up to $1,200. Apartments, on the other hand, the rates could reach as high as $800 and above. Additionally, many of the tenants noted that the campground is an affordable housing location with a sense of harmonious and tight-knit company.
Stephen Sooter, a 22-year old Campground resident since March of this year, expressed his positive thoughts about living in the place. According to him, he and the other residents often cook dinners together and even enjoy doing backcountry skiing on Signal Park. Sooter is one of the Sugar Bowl’s lift operations supervisors at Cisco Grove. Due to his love for the place, he refuses to leave despite the wildfire aftermath.
After the blaze, Sooter got anxious over the hunt for affordable housing in the area. Luckily, a second homeowner near the Donner Ski Ranch was looking for renters and contacted him regarding the matter. A week after the fire incident, Scooter and his roommate moved there for temporary lodgings.