A public information officer meets with a local resident during the Dixie Fire. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

Dixie Fire burns 515,756 acres, 31 percent contained

Today’s winds prompted some later increased fire behavior, officials shared Thursday. As of the evening update, the fire has burned 515,756 acres and is 31 percent contained.

The two evening video updates for the East and West Zones shared on the days’ events.

Operations Section Chief Jake Cagle shared on the East Zone, adding on the south side from Merlin to Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley continue to stay in the footprint, as well as the Crescent Mills, Butterfly Valley area. In the Keddie Point area “things are looking really good.”

Cagle added, in the Diamond Mountain Road around Superior Ravine, crews are trying to tie in the area.

The mission of the fuel break before Janesville continues. Additionally, West Zone resources continue to make a contingency line off Highway 36 around Westwood.

For the West Zone, officials commented on the increased activity this evening.

Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton for the West Zone noted the increased activity this evening on the Lassen and Westwood sectors of the West Zone due to outflow winds.

For the Westwood sector he noted, crews were battling the blaze, but “we feel very confident we’re going to be able to keep that fire from crossing (Highway) 36 and into those communities. However, if by chance it does, we have a very strong contingent of resources in that area to take care and protect those structures.” He added Highway 44 was not threatened at this time.

Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon said all Lassen County evacuation orders and warnings remain in place, with the Westwood, Clear Creek and Pine Town orders remaining. Janesville remained as a warning as of the update.

Growdon also noted personnel continues to patrol the area to protect property and feed animals, and they are working to move animals out of the area, coordinating with the owners. If anyone needs assistance with an animal, they should call 257-6121.

According to the written update:

Dixie Fire West Zone – Fire activity remained moderate today on the Dixie Fire. Warm and dry conditions will continue through the end of the week. Sporadic isolated thunderstorms occurred within the fire area today but did not result in any new fire ignitions. Damage inspection teams continue working in areas where fire activity has diminished which could be reflected in the number of structures damaged or destroyed. Evacuation Warnings and Evacuation Orders could change every day.

Dixie Fire East Zone – Thunder cells have developed over the region and some parts of the Dixie fire. Automatic rain gauges will update fire managers on the amount of moisture received later this evening. Outflows of air movement and erratic winds from these cells are leading to variable fire behavior depending on location. As crews were working this afternoon, weather updates were shared to alert them to the possible outflow of winds and risk of long-range spotting.