More critical fire weather is anticipated this afternoon as the smoke inversion lifts, Jake Cagle, Operations Section Chief, said in his Sunday morning briefing of the Dixie Fire East Zone, and crews are working to tie the Moonlight Finger of the wildfire into existing burn scars.
As of Sunday morning, the Dixie Fire has burned 463,477 acres and remains at 21 percent containement.
About 404 structures and 185 other minor structures are reported as destroyed as the fire burned through the Plumas County communities of Greenville and Canyon Dam. 27 structures and 11 other minor structures are damaged.
Cagle noted the Moonlight Finger in Moonlight Valley area remained active through the night. He anticipated the inversion layer may lift about 1 p.m.
“Unfortunately, that inversion is going to lift, and we’re getting back in that pattern from (Aug. 4 and Aug. 5) when we had those significant runs through Greenville and Canyon Dam. We’re definitely not out of the woods. We’re going to have a challenging day today,” Cagle said in the briefing.
However, if the inversion lifts and smoke clears, aircraft will make more of an appearance in the fight.
The goal for the north area of the fire is to run the Dixie Fire into the 2020 Sheep Fire burn scar, and the 2020 Hog and 2019 Walker fire burn scars should help; “But there’s potential fire for it to sneak around in between the gap of the Sheep Fire as well as the gap of the Walker Fire.”
Dixie Fire East Zone –On the East Zone, overnight smoke significantly reduced visibility making driving hazardous for firefighting crews. Smoke shading and higher relative humidity recovery have moderated fire activity along much of the line. However, clearing skies on the northeast perimeter on Moonlight Peak have led to more dynamic fire behavior with fire backing down the slope. Crews attacked the fire direct and used heavy equipment to create containment. Firefighters will scout and verify containment and contingency lines along the fire perimeter to try to control the fire. Fire managers are shifting personnel to cover priority areas, including securing the line to protect homes in Crescent Mills and Hunt Valley, as well as cutting line, laying hoses and conducting strategic firing operations to defend Westwood.
Dixie Fire West Zone – Fire behavior overnight was moderate due to smoke inversion, warm temperatures, and poor relative humidity recoveries. Fuel moistures remain critical and historically low. Fire activity is expected to decrease through the morning hours. Smoke shading from fires in the region will reduce fire intensity, increasing the potential for crews to make headway on building containment lines. Firefighters continue to provide structure defense and reinforce containment lines. Damage assessment is ongoing.