The winds as predicted wreaked havoc on the fire today, Aug. 16 – particularly in Indian Valley and in the Janesville area.
The Dixie Fire is responsible for the local havoc, while a new fire start about 5 miles away is responsible for a fresh round of evacuations for Janesville this afternoon. Planning Operations Section Chief Jake Cagle discussed the situation in his final nightly briefing before his team leaves town tomorrow.
He said the new fire, near Thompson Peak, could have been caused by a lightning strike that hit the area a couple of days ago. Originally reported at 20 acres, it grew rapidly as winds pushed it down on the escarpment area near Janesville.
As for Indian Valley, Cagle said there was a lot of activity in the Peters Creek area when southwest winds surfaced about noon as predicted. “There was a lot of fire activity today unfortunately,” he said.
The fire in the Mud Lake and Wilcox Valley areas continued to push firefighters and there were spots over Fruit Growers Boulevard.
Over at the Dyer Mountain area, spots over into Mountain Meadows Reservoir.
Winds are expected to continue to blow until about midnight tonight and the Red Flag warning is in place until midnight tomorrow.
The fire tonight is 578,897 acres and 31 percent contained. Cagle explained that sometimes acreage changes, as more precise infrared mapping becomes available.
As stated earlier this was Cagle’s last update. He is leaving Plumas County for the second time this year, the first time was after the Beckwourth Complex. And he left twice last year as well, after serving two separate tours on the North Complex Fire.
Last night Incident Commander Rocky Opliger said he was leaving Plumas County with a heavy heart, and Cagle echoed that sentiment tonight.
“I just wanted to say thank you so much to the locals, and all the support … Plumas County Strong – you are an amazing group of people.” He said he appreciated the fairgrounds and all of the staff from the Plumas National Forest, some of whom have lost their own homes. “We leave here with a heavy heart,” he said. “We know this has been a big impact to this community and it has been for a few years.”