Winds, dry lightning remain a concern as Dixie Fire surpasses 950K acres

Wildfire Watch

Cal Fire: 7 a.m. Dixie Fire Incident Update

The Latest – Sunday, Sept. 12

7 p.m.

The Dixie Fire is now 960,335 acres — around 1,500 square miles — in size and is 67% contained, Cal Fire said in a statement Sunday evening.

Original story below:

PLUMAS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — The Dixie Fire remains 59% contained Friday morning and continues to prompt new evacuations.

More than 4,800 fire personnel are battling California’s largest recorded single wildfire in history, which started July 13. As of Friday morning, it’s burned 950,591 acres — over 1,485 square miles. 

A Red Flag Warning for dangerous fire weather took effect in much of fire-scarred Northern California Thursday afternoon and was expected to last through at least 11 a.m. Friday.

“The combination of isolated dry lightning and gusty winds with the dry fuels will bring the potential for critical fire weather conditions,” the National Weather Service said.

Light rain fell overnight into Friday, mostly in the East Zone, Cal Fire reported. Crews said the rain won’t help much because the forest is extremely dry.

950,591Acres Burned
2,294Structures Threatened
1,329 (736 Residences)Structures Destroyed
Sept. 10, 7 a.m. Cal Fire Numbers

Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said that only twice in California history have blazes burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other, both this month, with the Caldor and Dixie fires.

Marcus Pacheco, an assistant fire engine operator for Lassen National Forest with 30 years of experience, died last week from an unidentified illness. He was assigned to the Dixie Fire burning north of the Caldor Fire, authorities said.

Click or tap here to see the current fire perimeter.

The U.S. Forest Service announced it will temporarily close all California national forests through Sept. 17 to limit the chances of new fires igniting. 

Nearly 2,300 structures remain threatened by the Dixie Fire, Cal Fire reported. At least 1,329 structures have been destroyed, including 736 single and multi-family homes. Ninety-five structures have been damaged.

The numbers reflected may change as crews make progress through the area. Officials are updating a map indicating the current known status of structures. Click here to view the map.

In the Dixie Fire’s West Zone, Cal Fire reported the area of Hat Creek became their number one priority after changing winds blew the fire to the northeast portion of the area.

West Zone crews worked in conjunction with East Zone crews to keep the flames south of both Janesville and Milford.

Crews in the Lassen Volcanic National Park continue to use “all firefighting resources and techniques available” to battle the blaze.

Crews reported critical fire weather conditions are expected in the Dixie Fire’s East Zone, with low humidity and increasingly gusty winds.

Hand crews in the Devil’s Punchbowl area south of Taylorsville are being assisted by helicopters wetting down how spots and scouting the area.

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 Dixie Fire reduced downtown Greenville to rubble in early August.

While Greenville has been repopulated, Plumas County leaders are still getting calls from residents in nearby communities wondering if it’s safe to return home.

“‘When can we come back and see what’s happened, when are the mandatory evacuations going to get lifted?’ I get those phone calls all the time, every day,” said Plumas County District 2 Supervisor Kevin Goss.

The supervisor, along with his community, hopes the town can rebuild through fundraisers and low-interest loans.

Plumas County officials are working with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to find a temporary housing community for the displaced. They hope to have a temporary firehouse in Greenville by Oct. 1.

President Joe Biden will survey fire damage during a visit to California next week.

By Thursday afternoon 400 Lassen County residents and 214 Plumas County residents were still under evacuation orders, according to the California Office of Emergency Services.

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 location has been listed as evacuation centers:

  • Holy Family Catholic Church at 108 Taylor Avenue in Portola, CA in Plumas County [FULL]
  • Sparks Convention Center Hall #5 at 4590 South Virginia Street in Reno, NV
  • Word of Life Assembly of God Church at 37341 Main Street off Highway 299 in Burney, CA

Evacuees in need of help can also contact American Red Cross at 855-755-7711.

Residents impacted by the Dixie Fire can obtain general relief supplies like clothing, groceries and personal hygiene items at the following locations:

  • Community Assistance Network
    176 Lawrence Street, Quincy
    Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 10 a.m. – Noon
    Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Chester Elks Lodge
    164 Main Street, Chester
    Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    *Beginning Saturday, Sept. 11 through the month of September
    *General relief supplies
  • Quincy Seventh-Day Adventist Church
    2333 Pine Street, Quincy
    Wednesdays and Sundays, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    *Beginning Sunday, Sept. 12
    *General relief supplies

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, returning residents to stay vigilant, Cal Fire warned. Smoke may be coming from trees and stumps in the coming days, but residents should call 911 if they grow concerned about active flames.

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 advise motorists to call 1-800-427-7623 for highway information.

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.

Following a request from California leaders, President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in California and ordered federal aid made available to local governments, agencies and fire victims in Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Plumas counties.

Click or tap here for additional information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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