Firefighters recently took the opportunity to do a small strategic firing operation in the Forman Ravine area of the Indian Valley. 62 percent humidity, light fuels and favorable winds meant they could do a small understory burn, hand lighting off the dozer line, to create depth and a buffer to secure the homes in that area. Photo Credit: Branch Director Kerri Gilliland

Dixie Fire burns 721,298 acres, 37 percent contained Sunday morning

Yesterday’s winds pushed the fire in some areas, and as of Sunday morning, Aug. 22, the fire has burned 721,298 acres and is 37 percent contained.

According to West Zone Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton in the Sunday morning update, for the Westwood Branch of the fire, which is essentially the middle of the fire, the areas of Westwood, Hamilton Branch and the Peninsula are “looking really good.”

The Highway 36 corridor is holding well and acting as a very good buffer for fire from the north.

Mop up continues on the Dyer Mountain area, and it held during yesterday’s wind test.

The burn operation closer to Susanville on Highway 36 is also holding well, Brunton said. He also said the finger of the fire closer to Susanville should be turning to black on the map soon as its been heavily mopped up.

Janesville proper continues to look good, with control lines boxing it out. Although the community is not out of danger yet, “It’s looking much better than it has the past few days just due to the efforts of all our personnel that have been working in there.”

Moving down 395 corridor, there is mop up and patrol around the structures that are along the west side of the highway. Yesterday, there was increased activity in the Milford area and today crews are working to minimize any further spread.

According to the written update:

Dixie Fire East Zone: Red Flag conditions yesterday included increased winds out of the West and Southwest with gusts up to 30 mph. On the eastern edge of the fire near Milford, the fire crossed the line and winds quickly drove fire towards structures. Crews, equipment, and engines were in place to protect the community and minimize impacts. Assessments are ongoing. Today, firefighters will continue to reinforce the lines and work to minimize any spread towards Milford. On the west side near the Janesville Grade, firefighters will use direct dozer lines to hold the fire perimeter in place. Spot fires continue to created challenging conditions. The southern edge continues to back down to the north end of the Walker fire scar, where crews are reinforcing the line at Boulder Road. In Genesee Valley firefighters continue to do structure prep and point protection as the fire continues to challenge the Genesee Valley Road.

Dixie Fire West Zone: While fire remained active for most of the night, increased humidity in the early morning hours slowed fire activity. Active ground fire remained but did not threaten control lines. A much milder weather pattern is expected today and into the middle of next week. Crews continue working to strengthen control lines. Damage assessment is ongoing, and the number of damaged and destroyed structures may change as teams are able to access the fire area safely.

Northern California has experienced large fire activity and will likely experience an extended fire season. Fires burning in northern California are exhibiting extreme fire growth based on critical fuel conditions. The prioritization of resources is always based on life, property, and natural resources. Under these drought conditions, wildfires are burning rapidly with extreme severity and have traveled up to 8 miles in a single day. Fuel conditions are much worse than previous years and along with wind is causing much greater fire spread. Firefighters are experiencing conditions never seen before, such as increased spread rates, spotting and active nighttime burning. We coordinate very closely with the US Forest Service and CalOES for our local and out of state partners, to ensure resource availability.