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Sweeping team coverage as wildfire threatens Lake Tahoe

Firefighters take a break while setting a backfire to prevent the Caldor Fire from spreading near South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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In a true display of teamwork across formats, beats and states, the AP drew on resources throughout the West to dominate coverage of the high-profile Northern California wildfires that threatened an international gem, Lake Tahoe.

Striking photos by Noah Berger and Jae Hong captured the drama as the fire raged toward the resort city and a vast swath of the Sierra Nevada. Report for America journalist Sam Metz was indefatigable on the ground, interviewing rescue workers, residents and firefighters, then capturing the chaos of the evacuation. Reporters John Antczak, Janie Har and Jocelyn Gecker worked the phones from Los Angeles and San Francisco providing detail and context as they wrote the spot stories. Video journalist Terence Chea and Michelle L. Price reported on people who refused to leave.

For this latest in a series of major blazes,the West region dug to identify wildfire-related stories of interest beyond the breaking news, including Tom Verdin’s story on the special sites that were threatened, Don Thompson’s assessment of what went wrong in fighting the blaze (resources already stretched thin by the Dixie Fire,wind conditions), Brian Melley’s report on canceled vacations nationwide and a piece by Metz and Scott Sonner on price gouging. Among others who made significant contributions to the coverage: Olga R. Rodriguez,Daisy Nguyen,Robert Jablon,Amy Taxin, Christopher Weber and Haven Daley.

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