A CHP commercial officer leads a horse to safety during Dixie Fire evacuations. Photo by CHP-Susanville

Dixie Fire burns 678,369 acres, 35 percent contained

The Dixie Fire continued to experience activity through the night, with the fire continuing to grow in the Janesville area in the dry sage and grassland fuel. As of Thursday morning, Aug. 19, the Dixie Fire has burned 678,369 acres and is 35 percent contained.

During yesterday evening’s West Zone Video update, officials noted 47 structures have been destroyed in Lassen County, some of which are outbuildings. The structure loss map is continually updated as teams conduct inspections.

All Lassen County evacuation orders and warnings remain in place.

During the Thursday morning video updates, Cal Fire Incident Management Team Operation Section Chief Mark Brunton discussed the areas of focus on the large fire.

Crews continue to work with the East Zone to strengthen lines and mop up near Dyer Mountain, and the burn operation near Highway 36 above Westwood is completed.

The firing operation on the Susanville tip of the fire is in process, with lines being put in to prevent any spread north when the winds shift in the coming days.

There is work being done around Janesville and the Highway 395 corridor, where the fire continues to remain active. Work is being conducted along Wildcat Ridge, with more resources moving toward the Janesville community. Lines along the escarpment and dozer lines and hose lay are being put in place to prevent movement toward the community, and while the fire is moving in the Milford direction, Brunton noted lines in place to protect the community.

East Zone Operations Section Chief Chad Cook said the Janesville branch of the fire continues to see  a “tremendous amount of activity.”

Yesterday saw a lot of air craft resources as the fire continues to grow back into the Walker Fire scar, with retardant and resources on both flanks of the branch.

“We’ve had a strong presence in and around the community for structure protection actions,” Cook said.

Dixie Fire East Zone: The fire near Janesville is growing rapidly in the dry sage and grassland fuel and both West Zone and East Zone crews and equipment continue to respond. Downslope evening winds caused additional spotting and fire growth south of Beardsley-Grade Road.

Additional resources from the West Zone have been shifted into the Genesee Valley as firefighters aggressively protect structures and conduct point protection.

In the Dyer Mountain area, resources continue to secure and mop up the perimeter line. Direct line construction will continue in the area east of Westwood. The fire continues to be held on Fruit Growers Boulevard. All lines at Keddie Point and into the North Arm of Indian Valley are holding and will continue to be patrolled.

Aircraft will be utilized today as weather and visibility allow.

Dixie Fire West Zone: Fire continued to burn actively for most of the night due to lower humidity recoveries and the sustained winds. Persistent spotting continued to be an issue as well.

Very low fuel moistures and terrain-driven winds also contributed to continued overnight fire growth. Damage assessment is ongoing, and the number of damaged and destroyed structures may change as teams are able to access the fire area safely.