Dixie Fire prompts evacuation order for Plumas County community

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Monday, August 2:

6:35 p.m.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for all residences west of the Highway 89 and Highway 36 junction, west along the south side of Highway 36 to the Plumas County line and south of Highway 36 to Rock Lake and west to the Plumas County line.

5:10 p.m.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said an evacuation order has been issued for the residents of Greenville, which includes North Valley Road.

Original story below:

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Containment on the Dixie Fire in Butte County has grown by a little over 10%, allowing for some evacuations to be lifted over the weekend. 

More than 5,400 fire personnel continue to battle the fire, burning northeast of Paradise, which started July 13. As of Monday morning, it’s burned 248,820 acres and is 35% contained.

More than 3,100 structures are threatened by the fire, Cal Fire reported. Forty-five structures have been destroyed, 22 minor structures have been destroyed and nine structures have been damaged.

Sunday evening, the San Luis Obispo Fire Department posted video of their fire crews “hard at work defending homes on the Dixie Fire despite encountering challenging conditions such as erratic fire behavior …”

The Dixie Fire merged with the nearby Fly Fire, which started July 22. It has since moved up the list of California’s biggest wildfires to become the 11th largest in the state’s history.

Pacific Gas & Electric has reported to California utility regulators that its equipment may have been involved in the Dixie Fire’s start.

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

The Dixie Fire’s erratic behavior has fire crews concerned. Cal Fire said spot fires remain the greatest threat.

Several thunderstorms passed over the east zone of the fire last week, temporarily halting some planned firing operations, Cal Fire said.

Monday, crews do not expect any major weather changes but they do expect fire behavior to increase due to drying conditions.

The Rush Creek area in the east zone of the Dixie Fire is a critical concern, Cal Fire said. All damage inspections are 100% complete in the fire’s west zone.

Visualization of the Dixie and Fly fires courtesy of CEDR Digital Corps.

Crews have had to battle the blaze mostly from the air due to difficult terrain, and narrow roads into the fire area have been closed to all but fire personnel. 

In some places where firefighters are not able to access the flames by road, they’re using Union Pacific engines, with water tanks in the front and back. The engines travel the tracks on the west side of the Feather River, which also provides a convenient water source for helicopters.

Evacuation orders and warnings were lifted for several remote areas of Butte and Plumas counties. But authorities warned that with unpredictable winds and extremely dry fuels, the risk of flare-ups remained high.

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 sign up for their county’s CodeRed emergency alert system for evacuation information using the links below:

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

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

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

All highway closures are being reported by Caltrans on its website.

Cal Fire Butte Unit posted a video for residents eager to get back onto Highway 70. 

“We’re seeing a lot of rolling of embers and debris. … Just know that our number one priority is getting you guys home safely and that we’re definitely keeping your concerns in mind.” 

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.

The following locations have been listed as evacuation centers:

  • Veterans Memorial Hall at 225 Gay Street in Chester, CA in Pumas County
  • Springs of Hope Church at 59 Bell Lane in Quincy, CA in Plumas County
  • Lassen Community College at 478-200 in Susanville, CA in Butte County

Thursday, FOX40 spoke to a firefighter who lost his home to the Dixie Fire. 

Bureau of Land Management helicopter attack firefighter Michael Hambrick raised his American flag on the only structure left standing the day after losing his home.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be on this end,” he said. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Plumas, Butte, Lassen and Alpine counties because of wildfires that he said were causing “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property.” The proclamation opened the way for more state support.

Click or tap here for additional information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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