PLUMAS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — The Dixie Fire is now 40% contained as it continues to spread and prompt evacuations across Plumas, Butte, Tehama and Lassen counties, blackening an area twice the size of Los Angeles.
More than 6,000 fire personnel are battling California’s largest recorded single wildfire in history, which started July 13. As of Monday evening, it’s burned 727,896 acres — over 1,137 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 12,600 structures remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, Cal Fire reported. At least 1,259 structures have been destroyed, including 678 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, Cal Fire said smoke settled over the fire Monday morning, reducing fire activity after it remained active through the night. Crews expect “much quieter” weather patterns over the week.
The fire line towards Janesville in the East Zone remains secure, Cal Fire reported. Crews continue to work spot fires in the Genesee Valley area.
“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.
After successfully locating 46 unaccounted for individuals, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday crews continue to search for Ronald Avila of Greenville. Officials believe Avila may have left the area four years ago.
As of Sunday evening, a little over 3,600 Lassen County residents are still evacuated, as well as 2,600 Plumas County residents and 550 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.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.