September 24 2021 03:30 pm

742K-acre Dixie Fire 45% contained as Biden declares major disaster in counties burned

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Wednesday, Aug. 25:

6:58 p.m.

The Dixie Fire has burned 742,724 acres and remains at 45% contained. It has destroyed 690 homes.

Original Story Below:

PLUMAS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — The Dixie Fire continues to spread and prompt evacuations across Plumas, Butte, Tehama and Lassen counties, and is 45% contained.

Nearly 6,000 fire personnel are battling California’s largest recorded single wildfire in history, which started July 13. As of Wednesday morning, it’s burned 735,064 acres — over 1,148 square miles.

Click or tap here to see the current fire perimeter.

Following a request from California leaders, President Joe Biden on Tuesday declared that a major disaster exists in California and ordered federal aid made available to local governments, agencies and fire victims in Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Plumas counties.

“The Dixie Fire is the first fire that we’re aware of that has burned from the west side of the mountain range all the way over into the valley floor on the east side of the mountain range,” Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said. “We don’t have any record of that happening before.”

Over 11,800 structures remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, Cal Fire reported. At least 1,273 structures have been destroyed, including 682 homes. Ninety-two structures have been damaged.

The numbers reflected may change as crews make progress through the area. Officials are updating a map indicating the current known status of structures. Click here to view the map.

For online resources and the latest information on evacuation orders, click or tap here.

In the Dixie Fire West Zone, overnight winds kept the fire active, Cal Fire said Wednesday morning. In the early morning hours, smoke settled in the area, moderating fire activity.

The fire continues to back down the slope toward the road, between Antelope Lake and Genesee Valley, in the East Zone. Cal Fire said crews will work to keep spot fires from the Grizzly Fire from moving south.

“Spot fires are always an issue,” said Brad Bihun, public information officer for California’s response to the Dixie Fire told FOX40.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents the district impacted by the Dixie and River fires, issued a tearful promise to his constituents after the fire ripped through Greenville.

“My heart is crushed by what has occurred there,” said Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns, a lifelong Greenville resident.

Three firefighters and a fire captain were hospitalized Aug. 7 after a weakened tree fell and struck them, a San Diego County Cal Fire crew reported. Two have returned to duty. The fire captain was taken to a care facility to receive “aggressive physical therapy.”

As of Wednesday morning, 274 Lassen County residents are still ordered to evacuate, as well as 2,600 Plumas County residents and 150 Tehama residents.

Because evacuation orders and warnings are changing frequently, Cal Fire is directing residents to the social media pages of local law enforcement and forest management.

Residents can also sign up for their county’s CodeRed emergency alert system for evacuation information using the links below.

The following locations have been listed as evacuation centers:

  • Springs of Hope Church at 59 Bell Lane in Quincy, CA in Plumas County
  • Lassen Community College at 78-200 CA-139 in Susanville, CA in Lassen County
  • Holy Family Catholic Church at 108 Taylor Avenue in Portola, CA in Plumas County
  • Los Molinos Veterans Hall at 7980 Sherwood Boulevard in Los Molinos, CA, in Tehama County

Officials shared an evacuation map, with areas in red representing mandatory evacuations and the yellow areas being evacuation warning zones.

As some evacuation orders are reduced to warnings, Cal Fire is warning returning residents to stay vigilant.

Cal Fire said smoke may be coming from trees and stumps in the coming days, but residents should call 911 if they grow concerned about active flames.

Lassen National Forest and Plumas National Forest officials have also issued closures.

Road and highway closures are being reported by Caltrans on its website. People traveling in the area should follow egress route directions in the evacuation notification because GPS can lead drivers to hazardous areas, Cal Fire warned.

Officials also advise motorists to call 1-800-427-7623 for highway information.

“This is not going to end anytime soon,” Porter said of the Dixie Fire. “Everybody’s going to be sucking smoke for a long time.”

The Dixie Fire merged with the nearby Fly Fire, which started July 22. Pacific Gas & Electric has reported to California utility regulators that its equipment may be linked to both fires.

PG&E equipment has repeatedly been linked to major wildfires, including the Camp Fire that ravaged the nearby town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

Click or tap here for additional information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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