Dixie Fire Update p.m. Aug. 28: Preparing for the winds

By Michael Condon

Special to Plumas News

 

The fire was active in the Grizzly Ridge area again today with a large smoke column visible from Quincy to Portola.

Smoky conditions persisted through much of the day limiting safe air operations although flight crews were able to find holes in the smoke and make a few water drops along the ridge.  Most of the fire appeared to be burning in heavy fuels in Wards Creek to the east of Grizzly Ridge.

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Fire officials moved additional resources  into the Grizzly Ridge area to help complete the fire lines in advance of the increasing winds over the next few days.

Firefighters did get some additional help today from the Western Pacific fire train which was spraying retardant along both sides of their track that runs through the Highway 70 corridor.

The winds were light and out of the west today so there was minimal fire spread from the Grizzly spot back to the west toward Taylorsville.

The other active area of the fire was once again the northern perimeter.  Fire crews were able to extinguish all of the spot fires that blew over thier lines.  Smoke conditions were more favorable on the north edge of the fire allowing firefighters to use water-dropping heavy helicopters for much of the day.

Much of the firefighters’ efforts today were focused on preparing for stronger winds over the next three days.  These winds will be much stonger than today’s winds with steady winds up to 25 mph and gusts over the ridges to 40 mph possible.  Relative humidity will remain low setting the stage for potential extreme fire behavior.

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The upcoming winds will be out of the southwest. That will test firelines on the north and east edges of the fire.  With that in mind, much of today’s effort cooling any remaining hotspots and strengthening fire lines was focused along Highway 395 and the Janesville Grade where winds tend to be particularly strong.

Crews also focused their efforts on fire lines through the northern portion of Lassen Park, around West Prospect Peak north of the park, along the Silver Lake Road, down County Road A-21 and Highway 36 back towards Susanville.  Most of these fire lines have been secured for days, but past experience has proven that strong winds can bring what appeared to be a dead fire back to life very quickly.

The fire has grown about 6,500 acres in the last 24 hours and is now 759,218 acres and remains 48 percent contained.