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Officials Warn Of Unstable Slopes On Highway 50 Above Echo Summit

ECHO SUMMIT (CBS SF) -- It's been months since the massive Caldor Fire swept over Echo Summit on its march into the Tahoe Basin, but the impact of the wall of flames still lingers on the rocky slopes nearby.

Denuded of groundcover, the slopes above Highway 50 are a bit unstable. A massive cabin-size boulder and tons of rocky debris slammed down on the highway at the summit on Thursday night, shutting down the major weekend traffic route into South Lake Tahoe.

"We lost all the vegetation above here," said Bill Netto, Caltrans Acting Maintenance Superintendent. "We have rock slides but nothing like what we had here last night or earlier almost in the same spot."

Then hours after the slide was cleared and the roadway reopened, another boulder tumbled down the slope, slamming into a Toyota Tacoma. While the vehicle suffered major damage, no injuries were reported.

"Another large boulder came down onto US-50, same location. No injuries," CHP South Lake Tahoe posted. "While (officers were) on scene, ANOTHER huge boulder came down without incident. Be vigilant when traveling through the burn areas. Very unstable hillsides."

On Friday, crews used dynamite charges to rip into Thursday night's massive rockslide and begin the hours long process of clearing the mounds of debris from the roadway.

Hours later, traffic was flowing again into South Lake Tahoe.

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