A firefighter from the Stanislaus NF uses a drip torch to eliminate fuels between the fire to secure the containment line, protecting homes and communities. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

Dixie Fire burns 447,723 acres by Saturday evening, 21 percent contained

Firetrucks from all over and increased traffic are a common sight in Susanville now as crews return to and head out from camp, and as the area hosts two shelters housing Dixie Fire evacuees from Plumas and Lassen counties.

The smoke inversion and higher humidity levels continued to moderate fire behavior, according to the Saturday evening update; and while hot temperatures are making a return, it should not be as significant of a weather event as seen last week that prompted the Dixie Fire surge. The wildfire has burned 447,723 acres and remains at 21 percent containment.

370 structures, and 175 other minor structures are reported as destroyed. 25 structures and 11 other minor structures are damaged.

Evacuation warnings and orders for Lassen remain in place.

During the evening video update, Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon addressed re-population of the Lassen evacuated communities, noting, “right now it’s just too dangerous to allow people back in those communities.”

He added there have been four arrests made in the mandatory evacuation order areas of people “up to no good,” and said deputies are continuing to check and feed animals in the evacuated areas. If anyone wants to request an animal check, they should call 257-6121.

Growdon also said a water main line was damaged by equipment in the Westwood area, but repairs were made.

According to Kyle Jacobson, OPS East Chief, crews were able to get line around the spot fire near Lone Rock, which reached about 75 acres.

“They have mopped it up and secured it, so that spot fire should not be an issue in the future,” Jacobson said.

According to the evening update:

Dixie Fire East Zone – On the East Zone, wildland firefighters took advantage of more moderate fire behavior today and capitalized on opportunities to safely engage directly along the fire’s edge. Crews dug handline and utilized engines and bulldozers on the north flank to keep the fire from reaching Dyer Mountain.

The fire is slowing its advance northeast from Mountain Meadows around Moonlight Peak to Moonlight Valley. The fire is burning within the 2007 Moonlight Fire scar, where fuels are lighter, but where there is a danger from hazard trees or snags that can fall without warning.

Heavy equipment was used to build indirect line or contingency fuel breaks from Keddie Ridge to Hunt Canyon. Crews continue to secure the containment line west of Crescent Mills, where no structures have been impacted.

Firefighters did structure preparation in Taylorsville North Valley. Crews are also removing brush and preparing Diamond Mountain Road as a possible fuel break

Dixie Fire West Zone – Smoke continued to drive the local weather pattern over the Dixie Fire today. High pressure aloft kept the fire environment stable. The smoke helped limit daytime heating, but the vegetation remains very receptive to embers. Small flare ups can contribute to spot fires across the control line.

Firefighters continue to prepare and defend structures. Crews will construct, reinforce, improve, mop up and patrol fire line. Damage assessment is ongoing.