The Dixie Fire comes over the ridge near the Herlong area Thursday night. Photo by Doyle Fire Protection District

Dixie Fire burns 868,781 acres, remains at 55 percent containment

The fire burned actively through the night, and there are some possible wind shifts expected today that could push the fire down the ridge toward the Honey Lake area.

As of Friday morning, the fire has burned 868,781 acres and is 55 percent contained.

Lassen County evacuation orders and warnings remain in place.

In the Dixie Fire West Zone. the fire continued to burn actively through the night with terrain driven winds.

The northern portion of the fire burned in the understory with isolated torching in the northern section west of Highway 44.

The southern portion of the fire burned downslope towards Highway 395 until the winds subsided and started to change direction about midnight. Crews from the West Zone are assisting the East Zone to complete contingency lines both north and south of Janesville and Milford. Fire crews will continue to use old control lines from previous fires, where applicable, as well establishing new lines.

According to the fire behavior analyst, southwest winds may come back and affect the blaze on the escarpment above the Honey Lake area that could push the fire down the slope.

According to Operations Sections Chief Mike Wink, crews are working with the East Zone and surging resources as the fire tries to spread to the east.

There are some flames hung up on the ridge, slowly backing down, which is not the normal fire behavior for the area. He said they aren’t going to close Highway 395 yet, but he also stressed the past examples of erratic fire behavior along  Highway 395.

“At sunset, be expecting it. We could have increased fire activity along here,” he warned firefighters during the morning briefing of the potential winds. “Be ready (for the fire) to come down.”

He encouraged crews to double check dozer lines and prep ahead of the fire’s anticipated push.

“Do that one more thing. Look at those dozer lines and make them better. This is a sparsely populated area, but just remember that’s everything these people have. Everything in the world is right here to them. And we have time, we know it’s coming,” he shared with the crews.

During yesterday evening’s East Zone update, Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon noted the fire came over the escarpment in some areas, but hadn’t made any major runs down into the valley.

He encouraged drivers on Highway 395 to be aware of conditions.

In the Dixie Fire East Zone, resources are positioned to keep the fire from spreading east and north towards Dixie Valley and Milford as well as south towards Clover Valley and Portola.

Crews will construct line directly on the fires edge and work in coordination with the West Zone to get around the finger-shaped blaze from Queen Creek to the escarpment and bring in air resources to keep fire from impacting Milford and Highway 395. Crews will continue to prepare and defend structures in Milford.

The containment line from the west side of Lake Davis to Grizzly Ridge and north to Taylorsville will continue to be reinforced, mopped- up, and patrolled to protect the Highway 70 corridor. Ten handcrews of soldiers from Joint Base Lewis McChord will join the fire fight today, assisting firefighters in Genessee, Grizzly Ridge, and Clover Valley areas. Structure protection remains in place within Clover Valley, Dixie Valley, Genesee, Taylorsville, Greenhorn, and Cromberg.