Dixie Fire burns more than 91K acres, remains 15% contained

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Wednesday, July 21:

8:17 p.m.

The fire has burned 91,268 acres and is at 15% containment.

10:55 a.m.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation order for residents along Highway 147 from Highway 89 to Quarry Road.

10:15 a.m.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation order for the west shore of Lake Almanor, including Canyon Dam. An evacuation warning was issued for the Chester and Lake Almanor Peninsula, including the greater Chester area, Hamilton Branch, Lake Almanor Peninsula and the east shore.

Original story below:

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Cal Fire crews are continuing their efforts to contain the Dixie Fire along the burn scar of the disastrous 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County.

The Dixie Fire, burning northeast of Paradise, started July 13. By Wednesday morning, Cal Fire said the fire had burned 85,479 acres and remained at 15% contained. The fire grew more than 24,000 acres since the last update Tuesday evening.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services said nearly 4,000 Californians, the majority from Plumas County, have had to evacuate due to wildfires in the state.

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

A Google Earth Studio visualization of the Dixie Fire on July 19. (Courtesy: CEDR Digital Corps)

More than 800 structures are threatened by the fire, which is bordered by the Union Pacific Rail Line and Highway 70. Two structures have been destroyed.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said structures have been lost in the Feather River Canyon but could not provide any additional details about the destruction.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, overnight crews engaged in structure defense as the Dixie Fire continued to move northeast, Cal Fire said. The fire has the potential for 2 to 3 miles of new growth.

Crews have had to battle the blaze mostly from the air due to difficult terrain. The effort was delayed for a time when civilian drones were detected in the area.

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.

Monday, the National Weather Service posted a video of what they said was a pyrocumulonimbus cloud over the fire. NASA has called the latter the “fire-breathing dragon of clouds” because they are so hot and big that they create their own weather.

NWS Sacramento also reported seeing lightning strikes that were likely associated with the clouds created by the Dixie Fire.

Cal Fire is directing residents to their county’s CodeRed emergency alert system for evacuation information:

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 officials have also issued a closure as of Friday.

Bucks Lake Road from Riverdance west to Mountain House in Butte County was closed. All highway closures are being reported by Caltrans on its website.

The following locations have been listed as evacuation centers:

  • Quincy High School, 6 Quincy Junction Road in Plumas County
  • Shelter for animals at 2279 Del Oro and Mono Street East in Butte County

Click or tap here for additional information.

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