Dixie Fire now 86 percent contained; both zones preparing for weekend winds

As of this morning, Sept. 16, the Dixie Fire is now 960,470 acres and 86 percent contained.

The East Zone of the fire is considered nearly 100 percent contained with the exception of its Achilles heel  — the Devil’s Punchbowl, above Taylorsville. “That is the last piece of open fire line,” Operations Section Chief Mario Gonzalez said during this morning’s briefing. Firefighters are anxious to address it in advance of this weekend’s forecasted winds.

Elsewhere on the East Zone, crews continue to mop up and patrol, and remove equipment.

As fire suppression draws to an end, the focus will be on repairing the areas damaged during the firefighting effort to combat soil erosion and the potential for landslides this winter. The work includes removing hazard trees, and repairing hand and dozer fire lines, as well as roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones and drop points.

Efforts are similar over on the West Zone where crews are strengthening control lines and ensuring additional resources are available to respond to any increase in fire activity due to the incoming weather.

North of Highway 44, firefighters continue to strengthen containment lines in the vicinity of Hat Creek Rim as well as protecting critical fiber optic infrastructure. Along Highway 44 and the east and west sides of the fire, firefighters will continue mopping up and patrol.

Also as with the East Zone, suppression repair work is underway in the southern area of the fire.