The Caldor Fire Threatens California’s Lake Tahoe Casinos

A blanket of toxic air caused by the Caldor Fire covered the Lake Tahoe Boulevard on Wednesday causing tourists to shelter indoors, including inside casinos.

Nation’s Number-1 Firefighting Priority 

Tourists sheltered into cafes, outdoor gear shops and casinos on Lake Tahoe Boulevard on Wednesday as a massive wildfire was advancing towards the alpine vacation and casino spot on the California-Nevada state line. 

Thick yellow haze provoked by the Caldor Fire covered the pristine setting of Lake Tahoe and caused tourists to wear masks outdoors and duck into cafes and casinos to escape the fog and the smell. California officials called the wildfire the top firefighting priority in the nation and sent thousands of firefighters to contain the flames, which have already burned more than 120,000 acres

The Caldor Fire was only 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the lake that straddles the California-Nevada state line, heading dangerously for Lake Tahoe basin, California’s state fire chief Thom Porter warned this week. The last time a major wildfire got to the Lake Tahoe Basin was in 2007. 

Idyllic Vacation Spot Under Threat from Fires

Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for swimming, hiking or relaxing along the lake’s shores, located in the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains. The lake is also home to several popular hotel casinos, such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, the Montbleu Resort and many others. 

AirNow, a partnership of federal, state and local air agencies, announced that South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City on the west shore reached 334 in the “hazardous” category of the 0-500 Air Quality Index on Wednesday morning. 

On Tuesday, schools in the Reno area of northern Nevada were closed for a second day in a row due to the dangerous smoke coming from California and causing toxic air quality. The Washoe County School District serves 67,000 students in Reno, Sparks and Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. 

South Shore Tahoe Gambling Revenue Up in June 

Gaming revenue at South Shore Tahoe was up 138.4% in June of this year compared to the same period last year. Casino generated $31.184m of revenue for the month. Statewide, Nevada’s non-restricted gaming licensees reported a total gaming win of $1.193bn during the month. This corresponds to a 110.51% year-on-year rise. Gaming win for the fiscal year from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, increased by 14.31%. 

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