PLUMAS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — Fire crews continue to battle the Dixie Fire, California’s largest single wildfire in recorded history which is burning in four counties.
Nearly 6,000 fire personnel continue to battle the fire, burning northeast of Paradise, which started July 13. As of Tuesday evening, it’s burned 490,205 acres across Plumas, Butte, Tehama and Lassen counties and is 27% contained.
It has since moved up the list of California’s biggest wildfires to become the 2nd largest in the state’s history.
The fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40-mph gusts, raged through the northern Sierra Nevada town of Greenville last Wednesday.
“We did everything we could,” fire spokesman Mitch Matlow said. “Sometimes it’s just not enough.”
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents the district the Dixie and River fires are burning in, issued a tearful promise to his constituents following the devastation in Greenville.
But we lost Greenville tonight, and there’s just not words for how us in the government haven’t been able to get the job done. We’ll take up the fight even harder and more so. We got to … stop this. We got to get D.C. to pay attention, we got to get Sacramento to pay attention. Forget the politics, forget the nonsense, we have to stop making this happen by inattention to what is obvious.”
At least 1,027 structures have been destroyed, including 547 homes, and 69 structures have been damaged.
“My heart is crushed by what has occurred there,” said Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns, a lifelong Greenville resident.
Three firefighters were taken to the hospital Friday after being struck by a fallen branch. More than 30 people were initially reported missing, but by Monday the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office had accounted for all of them.
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.
- Plumas County Sheriff’s Office – Facebook
- Butte County Sheriff’s Office – Facebook
- Lassen County Sheriff’s Office – Facebook
- Tehama County Sheriff’s Department – Facebook
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
- Lassen High School at 1110 Main Street in Susanville, CA in Lassen County
- Holy Family Catholic Church at 108 Taylor Avenue in Portola, CA in Plumas County
Crews have had to battle the blaze mostly from the air due to difficult terrain.
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.
Smokey conditions limited visibility in some areas on Monday.
In the Dixie Fire West Zone, fire behavior will be wind-driven Tuesday with fire growth to the northeast, Cal Fire said. Low humidity recovery allowed the fire to remain active overnight.
Cal Fire said high relative humidity and mild temperatures in the East Zone provided favorable conditions overnight.
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 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.
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 have been involved in the start of both fires.
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 Associated Press contributed to this report.