Folsom Lake Veterans Crew and nearly 50 other firefighters tend to trees and branches near the fireline to minimize fire spread. Photo from InciWeb

Dixie Fire grows to 922,192 acres, 59 percent contained Wednesday

Crews are looking at another hot and dry day as they battle the Dixie Fire. As of the Wednesday, Sept. 8 morning update, the fire has burned 922,192 acres and is 59 percent contained.

According to Operations Section Chief Mike Wink, there’s still a lot going on in the Janesville Branch of the fire. Crews will continue to complete contingency lines north and south of Janesville and Milford, respectively. He said the most activity in that area has been happening between 8 p.m. and midnight, however, with warmer temperatures, the increased activity may return to about 2 or 3 p.m.

Hot shot crews are working with West Zone resources today to construct direct handline up the slopes of the escarpment on the northern flank of the fire near Highway 395.

Last night there was another issue along Highway 395, according to East Zone Operations Section Chief Jeff Surber, but there was no structure loss. There was a temporary disruption to traffic, but as of this morning the Highway was open. He said the plan is to put in ground crews and having helicopters hit certain targets to eliminate the remaining heat.

In the Dixie Fire West Zone, short range spotting was a issue in the Lassen Volcanic National Park area. Crews will continue to complete line in the steep and rugged terrain. Today, in the Lassen Sector, crews will continue to utilize the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Fire Train for suppression efforts.

Priority areas include the Lassen and Shasta Sector, Old Station and surrounding communities, the Highway 395 corridor escarpment, the communities of Greenhorn, Cromberg, and Lake Davis. Bogs in the Lake Almanor area will smolder as expected. Mop-up and patrol will continue in this area. The California National Guard has joined firefighting efforts today.

The fire will continue to create spotting issues, especially in the northern section of the fire. Spotting will remain short range in the brush fields and can extend out in the timber, especially if a column begins to develop. The interior islands will remain active becoming an issue when near control lines. The pine needles continue to fall to the ground creating a new fuel layer.

The weather will remain hot and dry with increased fire activity due to clear skies. Temperatures will be 83-93 degrees with relative humidity at 10-15 percent. Southwest winds 6-12 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. Nocturnal thunderstorms are predicted for Thursday and Friday. Visibility should be good early in the morning on the western portion of the fire and clearing later in the eastern portion.

In the Dixie Fire East Zone, stable, hot, and hazy weather conditions will continue, with only a slight chance of thunderstorms on Thursday night. Yesterday, operations reported very little fire growth in the East Zone of the Dixie Fire. Firefighters made excellent progress holding and improving containment lines on Dixie Mountain, in Dixie Valley, and on Horton Ridge. Most of the fire perimeter remained quiet, however interior pockets of unburned fuel continue to threaten containment lines and produce smoke, especially during the heat of the day.

In the last couple weeks, crews built over 25 miles of containment line on the south side of the fire, keeping pace with the rapidly eastward spreading fire from the north end of Grizzly Ridge to the north side of Davis Lake, around Turner Ridge, and on to Dixie Mountain. Crews backed up lines with extensive water systems, utilizing numerous potable storage tanks and miles of hose.

Yesterday, crews built contingency lines in Dotta Canyon and used masticators to create an additional contingency line along the Beckwourth- Genesee Road. Overnight, crews continued to provide structure protection, patrolled, and closely monitored fire activity in the area.

Crews are also closely monitoring the fire burning in very steep terrain in the Devil’s Punchbowl south of Taylorsville, bringing containment lines ever closer, and using helicopters to keep the fire in place and cooled down. Crews used infrared technology to locate and water to mop up all the heat within 100 feet around homes in Genesee Valley, and crews continued to patrol and monitor the area overnight.