More evacuations as Dixie Fire burns over 570K acres, 31% contained

Wildfire Watch

The Latest — Monday Aug. 16

7:40 p.m.

The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office issued mandatory evacuations for the following areas:

• Devil’s Corral Trailhead area south of Highway 36

• Janesville west of Highway 395

• Susan River Canyon/Cheney Creek area

• Clear Creek, Westwood, and Pine Town areas

• Area north of Highway 36 from Lassen county line to Coppervale

People in those areas are instructed to evacuate immediately. An emergency shelter is located at Lassen Community College in Susanville.

Evacuation warnings have also been issued for:

•Area west of Richmond Road south of Highway 36

•Diamond Mountain area

•Area west of Richmond Road, south of Highway 36

•East of Highway 395 from Baxter Creek south of Sunnyside Road

•West of Highway 395 from Milford Grade to the intersection of Herlong Access Road A25

•Area west of Hog Flag Reservoir, south of Highway 44

Road Closures:

•County Road A21 closed to southbound traffic from Highway 44

•Highway 36 closed west of Highway 44 intersection

Access the emergency alert zone map for Lassen County here

Original Story Below:

(KTXL) — The Dixie Fire forced more evacuation orders Sunday morning in some unpopulated areas of Plumas County.

According to Cal Fire’s latest count, the blaze has burned 578,897 acres and remains at 31% containment.

Due to the continue spread, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued mandatory evacuations in the areas of Babcock Crossing, Elephants Playground and Murdock Crossing areas.

“This includes Beckwourth-Genesee at Clover Creek Loop, North to area of Drum Bridge, North to area of Babcock crossing. East to Big Flat Spring, South to 25N05, West to Beckwourth Genesee road,” according to the release.

People in those areas are instructed to evacuate to the south at Holy Family Catholic Church located at 108 Taylor Avenue in Portola.

Cal Fire said their crews are working to build and improve containment lines Sunday, but extremely dry vegetation and surface flames potentially being driven by winds continue to present challenges for containment.

Thunderstorms that moved in Friday didn’t produce much rain but whipped up winds and generated lightning strikes across the northern Sierra where crews were battling the month-old Dixie Fire. Extreme heat returned Sunday with temperatures expected to top 100 degrees (38 Celsius).

“We’re definitely still dealing with the possibility of lightning. Winds are all over the place. Things are going to be pretty unstable for the next couple days,” said fire spokesman Edwin Zuniga.

Gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph) on Saturday pushed flames closer to Janesville, a town of about 1,500 people just east of Greenville, the small gold rush-era community decimated by the fire 10 days ago.

James Reichle evacuated from Greenville and has been sleeping with his dog in a trailer outside a church. His home survived the flames but he’s been unable to return because the roads are closed. He said he feels for his neighbors at the evacuation center who lost everything.

“These are all people who either don’t have a home or don’t have access to a home. I still have a house standing, no damage. But I can’t get into it,” he said Saturday.

The Dixie Fire was the largest among more than 100 big blazes burning in more than a dozen states in the West, a region seared by drought and hot, bone-dry weather that turned forests, brushlands, meadows and pastures into tinder.

The U.S. Forest Service said Friday it is operating in crisis mode, fully deploying firefighters and maxing out its support system.

The roughly 21,000 federal firefighters working on the ground is more than double the number of firefighters sent to contain forest fires at this time a year ago, said Anthony Scardina, a deputy forester for the agency’s Pacific Southwest region.

More than 6,000 firefighters alone were battling the Dixie Fire, which has ravaged nearly 867 square miles (2,246 square kilometers) — an area the size of Tokyo.

The cause has not been determined. Pacific Gas and Electric has said the fire may have been sparked when a tree fell on its power line.

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