Crews battle to protect Lake Tahoe region from wildfire

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters faced a critical day in efforts to prevent a massive California wildfire from reaching the Lake Tahoe resort region, hoping to take advantage of calmer winds before hot, heavy gusts return.

The Caldor Fire churned through mountains just southwest of the Tahoe Basin, cloaking much of the popular tourist area in toxic smoke.

A favorable turn in weather Saturday afternoon allowed firefighters to make some progress and increase containment of the Caldor Fire to 19%, up from 12% the day before.

But hot, heavy gusts are expected to return Monday.

Cal Fire Capt. Stephen Horner says Saturday will be "a very pivotal day."

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