Crews cool off hot spots on the Dixie Fire in the Antelope Lake area. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

Dixie Fire burns 733,475 acres, containment increases to 43 percent

More evacuation orders were reduced Tuesday, and by the evening update, the Dixie Fire had grown to 733,475 acres and was 43 percent contained.

According to Operations Section Chief Mark Brunton during the Tuesday, evening Aug. 24 West Zone community meeting, The Westwood Section of the fire — essentially the middle part — continues to look good, however there are still calls for smoke.

Cal Fire Lassen Modoc Unit Chief Scott Packwood noted smoke and hot spots would remain for some time in the burned areas of the fire, and residents should continue to report them when they feel it’s necessary.

Brunton continued crews continue to go direct and mop up the Duffy area of the blaze in Lassen County, and he had favorable things to say for the fire in the Janesville area.

He said the fire was a battle in Janesville a few days ago, “but I think we’ve won that battle.”

Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon thanked assisting agencies, the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office team — which has been working long days since the early July Beckwourth Complex Fire — and the Lassen County community.

He noted those in evacuation warning zones should continue to remain alert.

According to the written update:

Dixie Fire West Zone: Steady 10-15 mph SW winds with gusts up to 25 mph were experienced during the afternoon hours clearing smoke in areas of the fire. This clearing of smoke increased fire activity including single and group tree torching.

These winds also resulted in short and mid range spotting activity as well as short intense runs in the heavy timber when these winds were aligned with the slope.

Certain evacuation orders have been reduced to warnings and certain warnings have been lifted allowing some residents to return to their homes and businesses. Returning residents are strongly encouraged to stay vigilant with regard to current fire conditions.

Residents may see smoke coming from trees and stumps for days following their return. Residents are encouraged to call 911 if they are concerned about any active flames near their homes or businesses rather than attempting to deal with such flames themselves.

Dixie Fire East Zone: The Taylorsville area was a focus of operations today as the fire backs its way down toward the community. The fire continues to spread by material rolling off the hill and then starting spot fires that burn up to the main fire.

The Taylorsville, Indian Valley, and Greenville FDs assisted in the installation of an extensive trunk lines and hydrant operation throughout Taylorsville. Large diameter lines will be fed by large volume 2,100 gallon per minute pumps drafting from the creek that push enough water to fill a water tender in two minutes. Portable tanks are also being set up throughout town to provide additional water. Additionally, OES has sent a contingent of Engines to assist with structure defense in Taylorsville.

Large Aircraft continued to drop water and retardant on the Grizzly spot fire, keeping it in check. Access is hampered by large boulder fields and rock filled avalanche scars. Heavy equipment continues to work along the top of Grizzly Ridge to place control and contingency lines.

Quincy FD and Greenhorn FD have been working in their areas today on preparations in case the fire continues to move to the south. North of Taylorsville towards Peters Creek firefighters worked at improving and strengthening lines. In the Genesee Valley North engine crews continue to scout and extinguish any roadside heat. In Antelope Valley crews continue to mop-up and secure lines.