With better conditions, aircraft has been helping tackle the Dixie Fire. Here, helicopters get water from Emerson Lake. Photo by Cindie Williams

Dixie Fire burns 699,666 acres as of Thursday evening

After a day continued activity, the Dixie Fire has burned 699,666 acres and remains at 35 percent containment, as of Thursday evening, Aug. 19.

During the evening East Zone video update, officials talked about some of the activity of the fire, and work accomplished by the thousands of personnel tackling the wildfire.

According to Operations Section Chief Chad Cook, a lot of the activity remains in the area just south of Janesville, spot fires continue to challenge crews; however, he did say “This is looking real good tonight.”

The area near Fruit Growers Boulevaard continues to hold in its current footprint. The fire does continue to slowly creep toward Walker Fire scar.

In the Dyer Mountain area, a spot fire went outside containment lines tonight, growing to about 15 to 20 acres – but dozers and crews were building lines, and aircraft made several drops.  “They are still working on it tonight,” he said, but it was expected to be controlled tonight.

Lassen County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Lisa Bernard also spoke in Sheriff Dean Growdon’s place as he was in the field in the Milford area.

She noted all Lassen County evacuation orders and warnings remain in place. Anyone questioning where they fall in regards to orders and warnings should check their address at community.zonehaven.com

There were some reliminary discussions to reduce the order in the Westwood area, however, increase fire activity and the safety of the public has delayed the reduction.

Starting tomorrow, the area will see a change in winds and they are set to blow from the South West, with some gusts at 30 mph. However, according to an incident meteologist, “That is planned for. We expect it.”

According to the written update:

Dixie Fire West Zone: Firefighters continue to build and bolster containment lines on the Dixie Fire. Fire remained active under northeast winds, with spotting and torching contributing to fire growth.

Smoke from other fires nearby did limit activity in some places, but not enough to prevent additional growth. Fuel moistures are historically low which is contributing to the critical fire behavior.

There are many considerations before allowing an area to be repopulated. A methodical, multi-pronged process of inspection and evaluation must be conducted to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all the residents affected.

This process includes guaranteeing roads are safe for travel and basic utilities to infrastructure is secured. Damage assessment is ongoing, and the number of damaged and destroyed structures may change as teams are able to access the fire area safely.

Dixie Fire East Zone: West Zone and East Zone crews, equipment, and aircraft have maintained aggressive engagement on the portion of the fire near Janesville. Along Honey Lake, the northern edge near fruit grower’s road has remained in its current footprint due to the continued northeasterly winds. Fire line was constructed on the south end from Highway 395 to the Walker fire scar.

In an additional priority area, rotary aircraft supported crews in the Genesee Valley this morning when they were able to fly. After aerial retardant application, the spot fire remains at approximately the same footprint of 30 to 40 acres and firefighters are constructing and reinforcing contingency lines to the south.

The fire on the north side of Beckwourth Genesee Road is currently backing down the middle slopes and crews continue to construct lines to mitigate impacts to structures in the Genesee Valley.