September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Dixie Fire becomes state’s 3rd-largest wildfire, missing residents identified

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Saturday, August 7

5:47 p.m.

Officials said that as of 12:30 p.m. there were five missing residents.

  • Danny Sczenski of Greenville
  • Glen Gallagher of Greenville (reported safe, however official contact has not been made)
  • Donna Shelton of Chester (reported safe, however official contact has not been made)
  • Dianne Doppert of Greenville
  • Lena Rhynes of Greenville

The Latest – Friday, August 6

8:58 p.m.

Officials have identified eight missing residents.

  • Danny Sczenski of Greenville
  • Jesus and Ella Gursasola of Greenville
  • Matthew Henley of Greenville
  • Glen Gallagher of Greenville
  • Sally and Harold Brown of Crescent Mills
  • Donna Shelton of Chester

Anyone with information is asked to call the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office at 530-283-6300.

10:50 a.m.

The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office has ordered new evacuations. Click or tap here for details.


Original story below:

GREENVILLE, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — Fire crews continue to battle the Dixie Fire, which is burning in four counties, and has grown more than 100,000 acres in 24 hours.

More than 5,000 fire personnel continue to battle the fire, burning northeast of Paradise, which started July 13. As of Friday morning, it’s burned 432,813 acres across Plumas, Butte, Tehama and Lassen counties and remains 35% contained.

It has since moved up the list of California’s biggest wildfires to become the 3rd 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 Wednesday evening.

“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 Wednesday night.

“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,” LaMalfa said as he stood with the massive plume of smoke from the Dixie Fire over his shoulder. “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.”

More than 13,800 structures are threatened by the fire, Cal Fire reported. At least 91 structures have been destroyed, 43 minor structures have been destroyed and 10 structures have been damaged.

“My heart is crushed by what has occurred there,” said Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns, a lifelong Greenville resident.

No deaths or injuries have been reported, but the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said four people are unaccounted for.

“We’re still looking for a few unaccounted people. We started with 10 today and we’re down to four,” Johns said at a Thursday evening briefing. 

Evacuation orders and warnings were lifted for several remote areas of Butte and Plumas counties last week, but more were ordered this week as flames jumped perimeter lines in a few spots Tuesday, prompting additional evacuation orders for people east of Lake Almanor, fire officials said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the fire grew by thousands of acres and an additional 4,000 people were ordered to evacuate, bringing nearly 26,500 people in several counties under evacuation orders, Matlow said.

As of Friday morning, approximately 42% of Plumas County residents are under evacuation orders.

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 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

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

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.

On Thursday, the weather and towering smoke clouds produced by the fire’s intense, erratic winds kept firefighters struggling to put firefighters at shifting hot spots.

“It’s wreaking havoc. The winds are kind of changing direction on us every few hours,” said Capt. Sergio Arellano, a fire spokesman.

In the Dixie Fire West Zone, extreme weather conditions allowed the fire to grow overnight into Friday, Cal Fire said. Steep terrain, heavy fuel and wind are making containment difficult.

Cal Fire said the priority in the fire’s East Zone was preserving human life, controlling spot fires in the Canyondam area, structure protection in several communities.

Fire crews are also working to protect cultural resources, critical infrastructure and private property in the path of possible growth near Highway 44, near Peninsula Village.

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.

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.

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.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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