PLUMAS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — The Dixie Fire continues to spread and prompt evacuations across Plumas, Butte, Tehama and Lassen counties, and is 41% contained.
Nearly 6,000 fire personnel are battling California’s largest recorded single wildfire in history, which started July 13. As of Tuesday morning, it’s burned 731,310 acres — over 1,142 square miles.
“The Dixie Fire is the first fire that we’re aware of that has burned from the west side of the mountain range all the way over into the valley floor on the east side of the mountain range,” Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said. “We don’t have any record of that happening before.”
Over 11,800 structures remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, Cal Fire reported. At least 1,262 structures have been destroyed, including 679 homes. Ninety-one structures have been damaged.
Officials said the numbers reflected may change as crews make progress through the area.
Crews have had to battle the blaze mostly from the air due to difficult terrain. Firefighters are also using Union Pacific engines, with water tanks in the front and back, along the west side of the Feather River.
In the Dixie Fire West Zone, lower humidity allowed burning conditions to remain active overnight, Cal Fire said. Fire activity was “mainly limited to ground fire and isolated torching.”
The fire line towards Janesville and Milford in the East Zone remains secure, Cal Fire reported. In Taylorville, crews are adding additional water sources and working to minimize spread.
“Spot fires are always an issue,” said Brad Bihun, public information officer for California’s response to the Dixie Fire told FOX40.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents the district impacted by the Dixie and River fires, issued a tearful promise to his constituents after the fire ripped through Greenville.
“My heart is crushed by what has occurred there,” said Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns, a lifelong Greenville resident.
Three firefighters and a fire captain were hospitalized Aug. 7 after a weakened tree fell and struck them, a San Diego County Cal Fire crew reported. The fire captain remains at a care facility to receive “aggressive physical therapy.”
Of the four firefighters injured, two will need additional rehabilitation. The other two have been allowed to return to duty.
As of Monday evening, a little over 1,703 Lassen County residents are still evacuated, as well as 2,600 Plumas County residents and 150 Tehama residents.
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
- Holy Family Catholic Church at 108 Taylor Avenue in Portola, CA in Plumas County
- Los Molinos Veterans Hall at 7980 Sherwood Boulevard in Los Molinos, CA, in Tehama County
Officials shared an evacuation map, with areas in red representing mandatory evacuations and the yellow areas being evacuation warning zones.
As some evacuation orders are reduced to warnings, Cal Fire is warning returning residents to stay vigilant with regard to current fire conditions.
Cal Fire said smoke may be coming from trees and stumps in the coming days, but residents should call 911 if they grow concerned about active flames.
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.
Officials also advised motorists to call 1-800-427-7623 for highway information.
“This is not going to end anytime soon,” Porter said of the Dixie Fire. “Everybody’s going to be sucking smoke for a long time.”
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 be linked to both fires.
PG&E equipment has repeatedly been linked to major wildfires, including the Camp Fire that ravaged the nearby town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
Monday, California leaders requested the federal government declare a major disaster as crews battle several wildfires in the state.
In a letter to President Joe Biden, Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, supported Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for a major disaster in response to the Dixie, Antelope, McFarland, Monument and River fires.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.