Driven by winds expected to return with a vengeance Wednesday afternoon, the Dixie Fire continues to resurface Monday night and Tuesday morning, prompting further evacuations and warnings in the Almanor and Chester Lake areas.
Just after Tuesday afternoon, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for the eastern shore of Lake Almanor, an area whose evacuation warnings were lifted over the weekend.
The sheriff’s office said residents of that area should evacuate to Chester – an area that had received an evacuation order as well at around 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Residents were encouraged to evacuate to Susanville, where an evacuation center has been set up at Lassen Community College.
The evacuation order for Lake Almanor includes the area from the intersection of Highway 147 and County Road A13, east to Little Dyer Mountain, southeast to Dyer Mountain, south to Highway 89, west to Highway 147 and north to County Road A13. . Evacuation orders remain in effect for the western shore of Lake Almanor from Canyon Dam, northwest on Highway 89 to Highway 36.
The Chester evacuation order includes all of Chester, from Highway 36/89 junction east to Covey, and through Chester on both sides of the 36 to the Lake Almanor shore and the county line to the north.
The spot fire extinguished the flames in both the east and west areas on Tuesday.
Mike Wink, chief of Cal Fire Incident Management Team 1 Operations Section, said during a livestream fire update Tuesday evening that a spot fire erupted from a containment line and extended to about 3 acres on Tuesday.
That fire was outside the perimeter, but is still inside the contingency lines that firefighters created, Wink said. By dropping water and retarders with the help of airplanes and helicopters, firefighters have stopped the fire from spreading on the spot, extinguishing it and it is on 3 acres.
Vink said the fire is “very active” in the northern part of the Western Region. In the West Almanor and Prattville areas, the fire had not damaged any structures as of Tuesday evening. Firefighters in the area are carrying out perimeter and structure controls to protect the structures.
Vink pointed to Forest Ranch, Magalia, and Mineral on the map during the livestream, and he said those communities are not included in the current estimates, but changing winds could impact that later this week.
There is no change in the Philbrook or Jonesville areas, Wink said.
Kyle Jacobson, Chief of the California Interagency Team 4 Operations Section, said northbound fires started across Highway 89 on Tuesday, but most of them were inside contingency lines.
A small fire spread over two acres started outside the lines, but the crew was able to keep it away from the structures, he said.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is forecasting winds of up to 25 mph on Wednesday afternoon and evening, with the pattern repeating Thursday. A red flag warning is in effect for the area beginning Wednesday afternoon due to strong winds and dry conditions.
Officials said the winds may ease on Thursday, but the wind direction is predicted to change at that time.
The fire, which had burnt 254,466 acres till 7 am on Tuesday morning, spread to about 6,400 acres after burning only 250 acres on Sunday morning.
An update to the morning incident said firefighters worked overnight to protect structures in the Greenville area after an escalation of explosive fires on Monday afternoon, a fight that continued Tuesday. The mandatory evacuation order for Greenville remains in effect.
US Forest Service Unified Incident Commander Shannon Prather said, “We certainly have some tough days ahead of us.
He reiterated that firefighters prioritize life, property and resources in that order and asked residents in evacuation areas to leave early.
Prather said, “My heart is with you all, for all the communities that have been evacuated from the East Zone and the West Zone.”
As of Tuesday evening, Dixie Fire prevention increased to 35 percent.