George Klass: Fire presents a scary thought in Tahoe

A scary thought.

Been reading about the folks that lost everything in Paradise in Butte County. Clogged roads, backed up traffic, no place to get out, no directions from any police departments as to which way to go, and folks dying in their cars trying to escape. It sounds to me like a horror story.

And then it occurred to me that if you are living or visiting Tahoe and are East of Tahoe City on Highway 28, you do have some escape routes. Highway 267 in Kings Beach, you can get to Truckee, Highway 431 at Incline, you can aim for Reno, Highway 207, the Kingsbury Grade over the summit can get you to Highway 395, Highway 50 East to Carson City, or Highway 50 South toward Myers from South Lake Tahoe.

On the other hand, if you are on the West Shore, you’ve got a major problem. There are only two escape routes, and they are at least 30 miles apart. You can try going North to Tahoe City on Highway 89 and then head to Truckee, or go South to the South Shore and take Highway 50. Either way is going to be a tough way to escape. Anyone who has tried to get to the Tahoe City “wye” on Hwy 89, even on a good day, knows what I mean. In the summer months, traffic backs up to Sunnyside or even further back into the West Shore, and if you are in the Carnelian Bay area, it’s just as bad going West into Tahoe City.

And imagine hundreds and hundreds of cars on the West Shore (Homewood, Tahoma, Meeks Bay, etc.) trying to negotiate around Emerald Bay in a panic to escape and get to the South end.

It would be a nightmare any way you look at it, and I really cannot see any alternatives.

George Klass

Monrovia (Frequent visitor to the Tahoma-Meeks Bay area)

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