Greenville volunteer firefighters pose in front of their fire truck while stopping for a free, hot meal at Mary's German Food Trailer in Greenville. Photo by Ken Donnell

July 24: Life in Greenville during a mandatory evacuation

Editor’s note: Greenville resident and businessman Ken Donnell is writing updates to share with his friends and family following the mandatory evacuation of Greenville due to the Dixie Fire. Plumas News is sharing his most recent post, as of noon on July 24. 

By Ken KD Donnell

Greenville remains quiet and calm today.  Wind is 3 to 5 mph.  Visibility is 3/4 mile.  Power is on (we have never lost power in Greenville).  Temperature is cool.  We have had a steady fall of ash all day yesterday and today.  The ash is mostly small, light , and cool.  Air quality is poor due to smoke.  I am wearing a respirator mask as much as possible while outdoors.
This morning’s CalFire report and updated map shows that the Eagle Peak Spot Fire which is threatening Greenville slowed its growth from Friday, but still moved approximately 1/2 mile closer to Greenville.  This leaves the leading edge of the fire being approximately 4-1/2 miles from Greenville.  The fire is pushing up against the western ridge that drops down to Round Vally Lake, so there are still two mountain ridges between the fire and Greenville.  This spot fire grew mostly in a southeast direction yesterday towards the Highway 70 WYE, and now appears to be approximately 1 mile away from the WYE.  
The Dixie Fire has become a monster with many heads, pushing outward in multiple directions, and with new fires like the Fly Fire forming ahead of the main body of the Dixie Fire.  The Fly Fire is now threatening to cross over Mount Hough and proceed downhill to Taylorsville and Genesee Valley.  Go to “CalFire Dixie Fire update” for information about these other parts of the Dixie Complex, and to receive official fire information.  
Human and physical fire resources continue to arrive steadily in the Greenville area.  But there is absolutely no feeling of panic or emergency.  This is a steady buildup to prepare for the next possible wind event. Today, tomorrow, and Monday have weather forecasts predicting light winds.  These three days will be critical to prepare for the weather system predicted to arrive Tuesday which could bring thunderstorms, and the high localized winds that accompany such storms.  This unsettled weather is predicted to continue most of next week, so fire crews will be on high alert to respond to any flareup and spotting that may occur if the winds rise up suddenly.  
Given this break in the weather to prepare, and the amount of fire fighting resources arriving in our area, I feel highly confident that Greenville will experience little, and perhaps no damage from the fire.  However, this hope could be dashed in a moment if the winds suddenly rise up.  And it is well known that fires can sometimes create their own winds and weather.  But for the present, Greenville residents should relax and trust that the safety of our town is in very capable hands
The unsettled weather next week leads me to believe that local evacuees will not be allowed to return to Greenville until the end of July, and perhaps even several days into August.  There is such a large burned area, and so much potential for fires to flare up and spot that I believe CalFire will want to keep transportation routes clear to potentially move resources quickly from one area of the fire to another.  If you have evacuated, I suggest making plans to be away from Greenville and your homes for as long as two weeks from today.  I hope local residents can return sooner, but I completely agree it is wise for those persons managing this fire response to act cautiously, be well prepared for flare ups, and not allow residents to return too soon. A big flare up at the same time local roads are clogged with returning evacuees could endanger many lives, and severely hamper fire fighting response.
Several persons have contacted me to ask for assistance caring for animals left behind.  Alicia Dalton,  who did not evacuate, and lives off of Williams Valley Road, has volunteered to lead this animal assistance effort.  Evacuees with animals left behind can contact Alicia by text at 530.394.7443.  Please provide your name, address, what animals need care, where they are located, and if there is food nearby.  No worry if food is not available.  Alicia will bring food for these animals if none is readily available at your house.
Mary Shero, and her son, Collin, at Mary’s German Food Trailer next to the Mohawk, are doing a fabulous job feeding fire crews, feeding local residents, and providing a gathering location in Greenville to meet, exchange information, and get some great hot food.  Mary is giving this food away, and some of us locals are starting to dig into our freezers to help Mary out.  We clearly recognize this as the moment to make use of emergency food supplies.  No one is going to go hungry in Greenville.   Evergreen continues to remain open during the day with a skeleton crew.  Pete is keeping Nelz Towne Pump operational by himself.  
Many persons have expressed concern about safety of their homes  and property during the evacuation.  I can reassure everyone that:
1.  There are no Bad guys roaming the streets of Greenville.  Those who remain are solid citizens who have mostly lived here for a long time.
2.  There are more cops here than I have ever seen.  I feel about as well protected as the USA president.
3.  I have met many of the out of area law enforcement personnel who have arrived to assist the Plumas County Sheriff’s department, and these are all good, calm, and professional acting persons.  
Finally, I want to close with a suggestion that once this fire has passed, and everyone has had time to settle back into a routine of everyday life, let’s have a big party to celebrate everything that is wonderful about our little mountain town of Greenville.  Like the song says… “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”  Let’s hope and pray that Greenville survives this crisis intact, and let’s start dreaming about how we will celebrate when the day comes that our hopes and prayers are answered.