September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Dixie Fire containment remains at 35% as new evacuations are announced

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Aug. 3

10:23 p.m.

The Dixie Fire has now burned 254,666 acres and is still 35% contained. More than 12,000 structures are currently threatened by the fire.

5:25 p.m.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said an evacuation order has been issued for all of Chester, from the Highway 36/Highway 89 junction, east to the causeway.

Officials also said the entire Lake Almanor Peninsula and Hamilton Branch are under a mandatory evacuation order.

Those leaving should head east and can go to a shelter in Susanville at Lassen Community College.

Cal Fire said a virtual community meeting will be held at 7 p.m., which can be watched in this story.

3:45 p.m.

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the community on the northeast side of Indian Valley. Residents have been told to travel south toward Quincy, where they can go to a shelter at Springs of Hope Church at 59 Bell Lane.

1:07 p.m.

New evacuations were ordered Tuesday afternoon for the east shore of Lake Almanor, including the intersection of Highway 147 and County Road A13, east to Little Dyer Mountain, southeast to Dyer Mountain, south to Highway 89, west to Highway 147, north to County Road A13.

An evacuation center was set up at the Chester Memorial Hall at 180 Gay Street in Chester.

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — After some evacuations were lifted over the weekend, more were ordered Monday evening and Tuesday morning as containment remained the same on the Dixie Fire.

Evacuation orders were issued Monday evening for all residences of Greenville, including North Valley Road, all residences west of the Highway 89/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.

By Tuesday morning, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office had issued more mandatory evacuations for the Highway 36/Highway 89 junction, south to Lake Almanor West Drive, and everything east to the Lake Almanor water line. Residents have been asked to leave north to Chester, where a shelter has been set up at Chester Memorial Hall at 180 Gay Street.

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.

More than 5,100 fire personnel continue to battle the fire, burning northeast of Paradise, which started July 13. As of Tuesday morning, it’s burned 253,052 acres and is 35% contained.

More than 7,100 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.

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 and Fly 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.

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’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.

In the Dixie Fire West Zone, crews expect fire activity to increase Tuesday due to dry conditions, Cal Fire reported. Steep terrain, heavy fuel loading and wind are making containment difficult.

Fire crews in the East Zone spent Monday evening protecting structures in the Greenville area after “explosive fire growth” in the afternoon, Cal Fire said. Tuesday crews expect active fire behavior and plan to focus on structure protection and containment on the northern perimeter.

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 last week. Authorities warned that with unpredictable winds and extremely dry fuels, the risk of flare-ups remained high.

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.

Road closures include Bucks Lake Road, Lower Big Creek Road and northbound Chandler Road. 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 location has been listed as an evacuation center:

  • Springs of Hope Church at 59 Bell Lane in Quincy, CA in Plumas 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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