Aug. 26: Spotlight remains on Taylorsville; Grizzly spot

A new day brings new set of challenges to firefighters battling the massive Dixie Fire.  Firefighters first priority is protecting the community of Taylorsville as the fire backs down Mt Jura to the north of town.


The good news in Taylorsville is that firefighters have had several days to prepare.  Firefighters made a strategic decision to let the fire back down Mt Jura and fight the fire on the flatter ground at the base of the slope.  Overnight, hotshot crews took advantage of favorable winds and weather and continued to work the fire down the slope of Mt. Jura


This is the same tactic they have employed throughout Genesee Valley. Trying to hold a fire at mid slope in steep terrain is often futile and dangerous as rolling material can spread fire downhill trapping the firefighters between the fire above them and the new fire below them. The odds are in the firefighters’ favor when they battle the fire on flatter ground where dozers and engines can be added into the mix of tools at their disposal.


The other advantage of letting the fire back down Mt Jura is that it has given firefighters plenty of time to prepare Taylorsville. Firefighters have deployed an extensive network of fire hose throughout the community.  There is fire hose at every house all fed by a high volume pump drawing water from Indian Creek.



Fire crews have also set up a portable retardant mixing station on the edge of town for filling water tenders with fire retardant and a large portable tank for filling retardant dropping helicopters.  So far the fire has not spotted into Taylorsville but firefighters are prepared for that eventuality.


Hand crews and aircraft worked the western edge of the Grizzly spot fire yesterday.  This spot fire is on an extremely steep slope and is dangerous for firefighters.  They have focused on keeping the western flank from moving closer to Taylorsville.  The spot has grown each day and continues to burn to the east. It is also getting closer to the top of Grizzly Ridge.  This portion of the fire was very active yesterday afternoon and produced a large smoke column that was very visible in Quincy heightening residents concerns.


Significant progress was made yesterday and through the night on the network contingency lines along and to the south of Grizzly Ridge in an effort to protect communities from Quincy and further east along Highway 70.


Firefighters were also actively engaged overnight in structure protection in the Genesee Valley near Ward Creek and Little Grizzly Creek as the Peel Ridge spot backed down into the valley.  They will continue this work today. Structure preparations were completed in the Five Bears/Ward Creek area.



Heavy mop up work continues at Antelope Lake, Dyer Mountain to the east of Lake Almanor, and throughout Indian Valley.


The other problem area on the fire yesterday was the north edge near Highway 44.  The fire made an aggressive run to the north in the vicinity of Butte Lake causing firefighters to pull back from the fire line.  At this morning’s briefing, the Cal Fire team managing the west zone reported that the fire had crossed control lines but they had stopped the forward progress over night and  planned to mop up the slop-over today.  They still sounded confident they will keep the fire south of Highway 44.


Firefighters are confident they will make good progress today. The weather forecast calls for low humidity but light southwest winds.  Conditions will change overnight as the winds shift to the north east overnight and continue all day Friday and into Saturday.  Northeast winds are especially concerning for the Grizzly Spot, which could push closer to the Highway 70 corridor between Quincy and Cromberg.


The Dixie Fire is now 747,090 acres and 45 percent contained.