Tubit skidders cut a line on Lone Rock spot fire. Photo submitted

Fire Safe Council contractor battles Dixie Fire

When a spot fire broke out Friday morning near Janesville, a Lassen County Fire Safe Council contractor quit building fire breaks and worked to put the fire out instead.

Unfortunately, despite the efforts by the contractor and other fire agencies and firefighters, the main fire overran the spot fire site Saturday night.

According to an email from LFSC Director Tom Esgate, the crew from Tubit saw the fire on an infrared fire map about 3 miles south of Gilman Basin near where Tubit was working.

Esgate said he heard of the spot fire, and he drove to the area and saw there was no response to the spot fire.

“I was thinking of last year when I saw the small spot fires and assumed the Forest Service would be on them (but they didn’t get on them for 30 hours and it turned into the Sheep Fire), Esgate wrote. “I wasn’t about to let that happen again … Tubit sent two skidders and a foreman. The last ¼-mile of the road from the north to the fire had been closed so we opened it up first. We saw USFS hand crew buses parked when we arrived at the north end of the spot fire but no people. I began to lay out line and the skidders followed.

“About two hours into our work and my lay out, I ran into a contract dozer and USFS dozer boss and let them know we were working the north end of the spot fire. As I rejoined Tubit’s crew another dozer from the south and east came down Lone Rock and tied into our line. Then having been fully tied in, we cleaned up our work and as we left a Fire Storm hand crew showed up to fortify all our work. With their presence, I am fairy confident the spot will remain contained.”

Esgate noted the spot was about 3 miles east of the head, and had it poked around for a day or two it would have hit heavy timber, could have blown up and been a real threat to Janesville. The spot is on WM Beaty managed land, and Esgate said he is keeping them informed.

“Once again, Doug Lindgrin and Tubit have stepped up to the plate at a critical time,” Esgate said. “We hope that the fire team can muster the resources to get a line in front of the eastern head of the Dixie Fire. Doug checked it out last night, and it wasn’t yet manned south of Indicator Peak. Today’s incident report states it is on their radar. It is not something that LFSC and Tubit can tackle on our own, but we can help. We have a lot of resources on the Diamond Mountain timber sale, about 3-4 miles north of the fire.”