Ruby Mountain Hotshots build a fuel break along the fire's perimeter south of Milford. Photo courtesy of InciWeb

Dixie Fire burns 960,583 acres, remains at 75 percent containment

Hot spots still have potential to rekindle around the Dixie Fire, but growth has substantially died down on the blaze that’s caused much destruction throughout the past two months.

As of Wednesday morning, Sept. 15, the fire has burned 960,583 acres and remains at 75 percent containment.

In the East Zone, larger and heavier fuels such as stumps and logs still hold heat as a result of continued warm and dry weather. Yesterday, firefighters mopped-up, patrolled and monitored containment lines. On many portions of the perimeter, firefighters have mopped up 100-200 feet inside the fireline.

Firefighters were very active in the Grizzly Peak/Devil’s Punchbowl and Dixie Mountain area with the intent to reinforce the containment line. Hotshot crews hiked in backpack pumps to cool interior heat, identified by infrared sensors, that have potential to threaten constructed line. Military crews continued to grid areas around Dixie Mountain in anticipation of weather changes. While structure protection resources are staged in multiple areas ready to respond in case of need, equipment is being pulled off the line and backhauled at areas of lowest risk.

Crews patrolled the perimeter overnight to scout for heat and trouble spots. There were no issues.

Today, fire suppression again focuses primarily in the Grizzly Peak/Devil’s Punchbowl area and in the southeast corner of the fire near Dixie Mountain.

Winds are forecast to increase out of the southwest, which could rekindle interior heat. Additionally, focus will be on fire suppression repair, which is essential work to leave a better landscape behind. Repair includes removing hazard trees and repairing the hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones and drop points used during fire suppression efforts. There are an estimated 1,559 miles of dozer line and 90 miles of handline that will require inspection and in some cases repair work.

In the West Zone, with the increased warming and drying the past few days, there has been an increase in fire activity burning interior pockets of unburned vegetation in the norther area of the fire. As a result, the public may see increased smoke along the Highway 44 corridor.

Firefighters will continue to establish direct and indirect containment lines south of Old Station. Containment lines are being strengthened in anticipation of a weather front forecasted to impact the fire area this weekend with high winds and changing wind direction.

North of Highway 44, firefighters continue to establish containment lines in the vicinity of Hat Creek Rim as well as protecting critical fiber optic infrastructure, and along Highway 44 and other areas of the fire, firefighters will continue mop up and patrol for smoldering heavy and downed fuels.