PULLGA – The Dixie Fire has more than doubled in size in the past 24 hours, and as isolated thunderstorms lashed the area overnight, firefighters on Monday focused on widening and strengthening control lines around the perimeter of the fire.
Cal Fire’s latest estimate mapped the fire to 40,500 acres Monday night, rising to more than 10,000 acres over the course of a day with a large pyrocumulus smoke column visible over the fire. It also appeared to produce several flashes of lightning in the area.
Containment remains at 15 percent. In comparison, the fire was spread over 18,702 acres on Sunday night.
No structures were damaged or destroyed, although Cal Fire estimates that 810 structures in the fire’s current path are at risk.
Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Tony Brownell said there were two major wings on the fire Monday morning that were moving in two different directions on Sunday.
One area pushed toward Spring Valley and Philbrook, but was captured by firefighters, and it did not move beyond established control lines.
The northeastern corner of the fire engulfed Highway 70 on Sunday and parts of the road were covered with debris, leading to a difficult stop in Butte County, 14.3 miles east of the Clark Road junction in Plumas County. Brownell said he has personnel in the area trying to put out the fire.
“This is a very challenging fire because of the terrain and fuel, but we are making progress and we are getting the fire under control,” Brownell said.
On Monday afternoon, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued additional evacuation orders to include:
- Caribou Road north of the Humbug Road and Humboldt Road intersection. This includes the Belden Reservoir and Butte Valley Reservoir;
- Everything west of Prattville Butte Reservoir Road and Butte-Plumas county line;
- From Seneca South to Highway 70.
The sheriff’s office advised residents to “leave the area immediately. Emergency personnel may not be able to assist you if you live. Personnel are responding to a personal notice issued.”
Several orders issued on Sunday followed in both Plumas and Butte counties.
In Butte County, Philbrook and Jonesville were placed on evacuation orders. In Plumas County, evacuation orders were extended to include Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley. Others under evacuation orders are the High Lakes area (Plumas County east of the Butte–Plumas county line), and along both sides of Highway 70 including Rock Creek, Storey, Tobin, Belden, Caribou, Rich Barr, and Twain.
There is also an evacuation warning for Butte Meadows and Inskip, issued by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday afternoon.
An evacuation center has been set up for residents at Quincy High School currently located at 6 Quincy Junction Road. Nazarene’s Auroville Church served as an evacuation center before closing at 4 p.m. Monday.
A small animal shelter has also been opened at the Old County Hospital located at 2279 del Oro and Mono Stay. E in Auroville, with intake hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
— Cal Fire Butte Unit/Butte County Fire Department (@CALFIRE_butteCo) July 19, 2021
A total of 1,918 personnel are currently assigned to the fire, which includes 110 engines, 54 hand crews, 29 bulldozers, 19 water tenders and 17 helicopters. “Several” air tankers from across the state are also helping with the firefighting efforts “as conditions permit.”