A Ruby Mountain hotshot works the fireline during the Dixie Fire. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

Crews increase Dixie Fire containment, 960,335 acres burned

After burning for two months, leveling communities and destroying 1,329 total structures, crews are increasing containment on the Dixie Fire – a wildfire that’s affected five counties and burned 960,335 acres. As of Monday morning, Sept. 13, the fire is 75 percent contained.

In the Dixie Fire West Zone, the overnight weather and humidity helped moderate the fire. The weather was relatively quiet with clear skies. The humidity was less than the previous nights and the recoveries will become increasingly poor. Firefighters continued to monitor, patrol, and mop-up all areas of the fire throughout the night. There were no significant spots over the containment line and firefighters continue to battle with some tough terrain.

During the day, firefighters will concentrate on building containment lines on the northern part of the fire as well as reinforce containment lines throughout the rest of the fire. Potential still exists for spots to become established outside of the control lines.

Weather is gradually become drier and hotter through the week with the humidity to drop in the teens during the day. Winds remained calm through the night and expected to be much of the same today.

In the Dixie Fire East Zone, forest fuels have returned to the level of dryness present before recent rainfall. Larger and heavier fuels like stumps and logs have held heat and could spread to unburned areas within the fire, requiring diligent patrol and mop-up. Yesterday firefighters surveyed and reinforced containment lines around the fire and prepared for an expected increase in fire activity as the weather warms and dries. On many portions of the perimeter, firefighters have mopped up 100-200 feet inside the fire line. Firefighters were very active in the Grizzly Peak/Devil’s Punchbowl area, building fire line directly against the fire’s edge and mopping up to reinforce the line. Patrols continued overnight. Firefighters identified only a few areas of persistent heat and visible flame, all of which were well within the interior of the burned area and presented no threat.

Today, fire suppression will focus primarily in the Grizzly Peak/Devil’s Punchbowl area, and in the southeast corner of the fire near Dixie Mountain, where firefighters are working to extinguish remaining persistent fire. Maintaining containment, patrol, mop-up, and backhaul of equipment continue across the East Zone.

In addition to the continual search for persistent heat sources, firefighters are beginning fire suppression repair work. There are an estimated 1,559 miles of dozer line and 90 miles of handline that will require inspection and in some cases repair work. Especially on steep ground and in fragile soils, fire lines are vulnerable to erosion when heavy rains come to the area. With the help of local Resource Advisors, crews will build diversions across fire lines where needed to intercept erosion and channel water away from exposed soil.