Smoke rises from Dixie Fire near Genesee Valley on Aug. 21. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

Dixie Fire burns 725,821 acres, 40 percent contained as of Monday morning

Better weather conditions and the efforts of firefighting crews continue to help portions of the Dixie Fire remain within control lines, but some hot spots near the Grizzly Peak and Genesee areas are a focus for officials.

As of Monday morning, Aug. 23, the Dixie Fire has burned 725,821 acres and is 40 percent contained.

According to East Zone Operations Section Chief Chad Cook, the area of the fire around Janesville and Milford is looking “pretty static” with the assistance of cooperative weather. “We have held all the control lines that come from antelope lake down into Janesville proper.”

He added crews continue to push and mop of lines in the area, and added more black line is coming for that area of the map.  He also said there was no structure loss during Saturday’s slopover that pushed toward Milford. “Crews were successful.”

There may still be some pockets of heat and smoke in this portion of the fire, but it’s in the lines, Cook said.

According to West Zone Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton, for the Westwood Sector of the fire – which is the middle of the fire – the west side is “looking very good, and as area are repopulated around Westwood and Chester, there have been some nuisance smoke calls.

He added the fire line is holding on Highway 36. There are some smoking stumps, but they’re not a factor for fire spread. Crews continue to mop up.

Mop up also continues in the Dyer Mountain area.

In the Clear Branch area, crews mop up the firing operation, and crews went direct putting in line and secondary line. “But we have no significant active flame going on in there.”

Moreover, the tip closest to Susanville is still the mop up phase and it’s “very, very close” to being done, according to Brunton. “There should be no, whatsoever, threat to Susanville regarding the fire.”

As the East Zone surges its resources to areas of concern in the Genessee Valley area of Plumas County, the West Zone is working on the entire Janesville, Milford spot fire, where initially they tag-teamed the effort.

According to the written update:

Dixie Fire East Zone: The eastern edge of the fire line towards Janesville area remains secure with crews on the ground continuing the mop up hot spots around the structures in Milford. On the southern edge above Antelope Lake, resources continue to work the fire’s edge to tie it into the Lake. On the western edge, they completed the dozer work and are continuing to secure the line, extinguishing heat along the way.

In Genesee Valley, resources continue to mop up around structures. Firefighters are engaging the fire that has made its way down to the road as they continue to catch any spots or slops to secure it at the road. There are two spot fires on the south end of Genesee Valley. One is below the Grizzley Spot and will burn into it, the other has been contained in the creek. Today crews will work to minimize any spread moving towards homes.

Firefighters continue putting in direct and indirect line to cut off any additional eastern spread in the area. In Taylorsville/Peters Creek, firefighters are going direct on the fires edge, mopping up and patrolling around all the structures. A contingency line above Taylorsville is being constructed. Yesterday, the Beckworth Hotshot crew was able to complete handline down the eastern side of the Grizzley Spot. They will continue to work the western edge this morning.

Dixie Fire West Zone: Fire remained active until after midnight. Smoke settled back over the fire in the early morning hours, reducing fire activity. Cooler weather and increasing humidity slowed rates of spread, with isolated torching still observed. Smoke settled back over the fire in the early morning hours.

A much quieter weather patterns is shaping up for most of this week. Crews continue mopping-up hot spots, and are 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.