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Resilience, Strength In South Lake Tahoe Ten Years After Angora Fire

Fire scars are still clearly visible in the Angora Fire burn zone. Randol White / Capital Public Radio 

Saturday marks the ten-year anniversary of a devastating fire that swept through South Lake Tahoe, destroying more than 250 homes.

In June 2007, while the fire was still burning, Capital Public Radio spoke with Joe Puleri at a shelter for evacuees.

He told us he only had five minutes to get out of his home, along with his two sons.

"Got the kids out, the kids are safe, the house is gone and everything we own is gone," Puleri said then.

Ten years later, Puleri recalled 2007 as a bad year, but despite losing what he called his "dream home," Puleri says the Angora Fire could have been much worse if the community and emergency responders hadn't acted so quickly.

"We didn't lose any lives' that's the good thing about the whole thing," he says. "We could have lost a lot of people."

Angora 2007 Burned Out Car

In 2007, the Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe destroyed more than 250 homes. Capital Public Radio / Photo Archives

Kit Bailey is with the U.S. Forest Service in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

"I was the initial attack incident commander, and that was my fire," says Bailey.

Bailey says weather and environmental conditions were ripe that weekend for a major fire to break out.

Since then, Bailey says the government streamlined the process to clear potential fuel sources, helping reduce the likelihood a fire this devastating could happen again.

Angora 2007 Fire Trucks

Some 3,100 acres burned in the Angora Fire in 2007. As many as 260 fire personnel battled the blaze. Capital Public Radio / Photo Archives 

Saturday, the community will come together to remember the event. 

 

"I think it's going to be about community resilience and the strength of this community and how they pulled together during that tough time, and we really ended up in a super positive place," says Bailey. 

While small in acreage compared to recent California fires, Bailey says the Angora was one of the most costly in U.S. history.

Angora Fire _3804_062217P

Burn scars from the Angora Fire is visible ten years later. Randol White / Capital Public Radio

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