California\u0026#039;s Caldor Fire forced tens of thousands of people to flee South Lake Tahoe on Monday, an extreme weather disaster that experts said provides further evidence of the need to rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions and transition to clean energy.\r\n\r\n\u0022Wildfire season in the West is still producing horrific scenes daily.\u0022\r\n—Eric Holthaus, meteorologist\r\n\r\nThe Caldor Fire, one of 83 large blazes currently torching the U.S. West, has burned more than 191,000 acres and is just 16% contained. The rapid growth of the fire, which began on August 14, prompted more evacuation warnings over the weekend, and those were soon upgraded to evacuation orders.\r\n\r\nWhile \u0022nearly\u0026nbsp;30,000 residents had already been evacuated from the eastern half of El Dorado County,\u0022 The Sacramento Bee reported that \u0022the entire city of South Lake Tahoe and surrounding areas along the west and south shores were ordered to evacuate\u0022 on Monday morning, just hours before the Caldor Fire entered the Lake Tahoe Basin.\r\n\r\nMost South Lake Tahoe evacuees were on the road by 11:00 am PT on Monday, according to the newspaper, \u0022with stragglers rushing to get their belongings into vehicles.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Police drove through residential areas, using loudspeakers and sirens to order people to leave and directing them to head north on heavily congested Highway 50, along the east shore of Tahoe, as the main route out of town,\u0022 The Sacramento Bee reported.\r\n\r\nJason Pohl, a journalist at the newspaper, called the miles of standstill traffic \u0022an emergency manager\u0026#039;s nightmare.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHours after almost all of South Lake Tahoe\u0026#039;s roughly 22,000 residents fled, \u0022the fire pushed beyond Echo Summit and into Christmas Valley, a few miles south of the city, intensifying fears about the danger to populated areas along the south shore of the lake,\u0022 The Sacramento Bee noted.\r\n\r\nBy Monday evening, flames had jumped Highway 88 and Highway 89, according to reporters at the newspaper, who added Tuesday that \u0022winds and critically dry conditions could continue to push the Caldor Fire deeper into the basin.\u0022 The fire, which has already destroyed close to 500 homes, is now threatening approximately 34,000 buildings.\r\n\r\nBoth California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) declared states of emergency on Monday, as officials worry that flames from the Caldor Fire could cross state lines in the coming days. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service is closing all national forests in California from Tuesday night through at least September 17 as a precautionary measure.\r\n\r\nUniversity of California, Los Angeles climate scientist Park Williams told the New York Times earlier this summer that \u0022we wouldn\u0026#039;t be seeing this giant ramp up in fire activity as fast as it is happening without climate change.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs a result of the U.S. West\u0026#039;s worsening drought\u0026nbsp;and record-shattering heatwaves—just some of the extreme weather that scientists have linked to carbon pollution—very dry fuel is abundant throughout the region. The combination of low precipitation and high temperatures has created the conditions for an especially catastrophic wildfire season that experts warn is not over.\r\n\r\n\u0022Wildfire season in the West is still producing horrific scenes daily,\u0022 said meteorologist Eric Holthaus. \u0022Due to climate warming, wildfires are burning higher up mountains than ever before.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Earlier this summer, the Dixie Fire—now the largest single fire in California history—became the first wildfire in recorded history to cross the crest of the Sierra mountain range,\u0022 Holthaus continued. Just a few weeks later, the Caldor Fire became the second blaze to make it from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other.\r\n\r\nCalifornia\u0026#039;s Office of Emergency Services, meanwhile, lost access to a Louisiana National Guard helicopter crew that had arrived last week to help contain the fire but was forced to return home to respond to Hurricane Ida.\r\n\r\n\u0022We are in a climate emergency,\u0022 said Holthaus.\r\n\r\nThe Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, Holthaus noted, used snowmaking equipment in an attempt to slow the spread of the Caldor Fire, which is 60 times bigger than the 2007 Angora Fire, previously the worst fire in the Lake Tahoe area.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nMonday\u0026#039;s evacuation of South Lake Tahoe coincided with the beginning of search and rescue efforts in Louisiana, after Hurricane Ida left\u0026nbsp;more than one million people without power, possibly for weeks.\r\n\r\nIn response, environmental justice advocates urged President Joe Biden to take serious steps to confront the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis.\r\n\r\n\u0022What more do politicians need to realize that the climate crisis is here and killing us?\u0022 asked\u0026nbsp;Varshini Prakash, executive director of the Sunrise Movement. \u0022The time for incrementalism and watered down \u0026#039;solutions\u0026#039; is over.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Biden must declare a climate emergency to mobilize the federal government towards addressing these climate disasters and tackling the climate crisis head on,\u0022 Prakash added.