By Michael Condon
Former Fire and Aviation Chief for the Plumas National Forest
Special to Plumas News
In the southeast corner of the Dixie Fire the fire is backing down the escarpment near the Herlong Junction. It is an unusually low intensity fire without the dangerous downslope winds the area is known for.
Firefighters are letting the fire back down to the wide network of dozer lines behind all of the structures and then extinguishing once it reaches the bottom. They have very defensible lines on the escarpment to the north and south of where it is burning down. These lines are expected to contain the fire along the escarpment. Highway 395 remains open.
On the southern top edge of the escarpment, crews are in the final stages of building line that will connect the Dixie Fire to the Sugar Fire stopping further spread to the south.
Late this afternoon the fire crossed over the fire line several miles west of the escarpment on the northern edge of the fire. That slop over is 40 acres and crews expect to stop it tonight.
The most active part of the Dixie fire was in and around Dixie Valley. There is active fire along the north, east, and west sides of the valley. The fire is spreading rapidly southward and marching down ridges on both west and eastern rims of the valley. Structure protection is in place but some structures in the more remote areas around the valley are threatened.
Hand crews and heavy equipment, assisted by helicopters and air tankers are constructing indirect containment lines around the structures in the Dixie Valley and attempting to steer the slop-over, which crossed Ross Canyon yesterday, into the Sugar Fire scar.
Crews constructed dozer lines from Horton Ridge southeast to the Dotta Fire scar and from there eastward towards the Sugar Fire scar to prevent further spread to the south.
The fire in the Dixie Mountain State Game Refuge is likely to burn into the edge of the Sugar Fire later this evening.
Crews are holding and improving fire lines on the southeast side of Coyote Hills. Containment lines on Turner and Grizzly ridges are holding and crews continue to mop up those areas.
Fire activity was minimal in the Devil’s Punch Bowl area south of Taylorsville.
Structure protection continues in Clover Valley, Dixie Valley, Genesee, Taylorsville, Greenhorn, and Cromberg. Crews have completed mopping up a 100 foot wide perimeter around 75 percent of the structures in Genesee Valley.
The north end of the fire seems to be the nearly the same story every day. On the Shasta County side crews are well prepared for structure defense if the fire should make it to Old Station or Hat Creek. Firefighters, with help from some heavy equipment, are building fire line through some very heavy fuels with dangerous fire weakened snags in some tough terrain.
Today they did experience some fire spread into the Hat Creek corridor near Lost Creek. Crews are hopeful they will get a line around that fire tonight.
The Lassen County side is similar. It’s a battle every day and progress is hard-fought. But instead of heavy fuels and dangerous snags, although there are pockets of that, firefighters in the northeast corner are fighting winds that blow spot fires over their fire line every day.
There was a 25 acre spot fire today and crews are working tonight to contain that. They are keeping the fire south and west of Highway 44.
There was little change on the rest of the fire. The fire is staying within control lines and fire fighters are busy mopping up to improve the security of the control lines.
The fire is 898,951 acres in size and 56 percent contained.