Dixie Fire grows nearly 3,000 acres, is 7% contained

Wildfire Watch

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Cal Fire is working to control a fire along the burn scar of the disastrous 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County.

The Dixie Fire, burning northeast of Paradise, started Tuesday night. By Friday morning, Cal Fire said the fire had burned 7,947 acres and was 7% contained. The fire grew nearly 3,000 acres since the last update Thursday evening.

The Union Pacific Rail Line and Highway 70 border the fire. 

Fire officials said the terrain and winds have pushed the fire further north into Tobin Ridge. 

“Steep and inaccessible terrain are making containment difficult,” Cal Fire reported.

Crews are relying on aerial assault because the fire crested a ridge into the Feather River Canyon, but it was delayed for a time when civilian drones were detected in the area on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“That hindered that suppression or that slowing of that fire down a little bit,” Cal Fire Capt. John Gaddie explained on Wednesday. “So please do not come into the area, whether you’re driving into the area or think you can fly a drone into the area because we’re going to have to stop our suppression efforts.”

Satellite imagery of smoke from the Dixie Fire (Courtesy: Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere/Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch)

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.

There was a concerted effort to protect major power lines along the Feather River. A spokesperson with Pacific Gas and Electric said several transmission lines were de-energized Wednesday as a precautionary measure, affecting roughly 10,000 customers in Plumas County.

Camp Creek Road is closed to traffic, and the Butte County Sheriff’s Office has given evacuation warnings to the rural areas of Pulga and east Concow, which only consist of 10 people.

An evacuation order for the High Lakes area, the area from Rock Creek to Tobin and  from the Plumas-Butte county line to the community of Tobin, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday. Residents were asked to leave the area immediately.

Evacuation warnings were also issued for the area from Philbrook Road to the Plumas County line, the area east of Tobin to Caribou, including both sides of Highway 70, the community of Belden and the community of Caribou.

Wednesday, Cal Fire reminded residents about the importance of following evacuation orders. 

“Now is the time to get ready if you’re asked to evacuate. Don’t wait until it’s time. Have those go bags ready,” Foxworthy said. “Have that plan in place. And when you get the call to leave, please do so because it makes it easier for us to get in there and fight the fire.”

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