Dixie Fire explodes overnight; now 8th largest fire in state history
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Fanned by the winds, which are expected to resume on Wednesday, the Dixie Fire blaze in Plumas and Butte counties exploded overnight and is now one of the 10 largest in California history.
The blaze, which has been burning since July 13, increased by nearly 20,000 acres to 274,139 acres, from 254,400 acres on Tuesday night, authorities said Wednesday morning.
This means the Dixie Fire topped the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County as the eighth largest in state history, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
“The winds are starting to react with increasingly frequent southerly and westerly winds gusting up to 20 mph,” firefighters said in their Wednesday morning update.
The blaze destroyed 67 homes, according to the Associated Press, and more than 12,000 structures are currently at risk from the blaze, which has grown dramatically in recent days.
On Tuesday, evacuations were ordered to Greenville, a community of about 1,000, as well as to the east shore of nearby Lake Almanor, a popular seaside resort, and the town of Chester.
The Dixie fire is 35% contained and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Firefighters in Plumas and Butte counties will face red flag conditions until Thursday evening, the National Weather Service said. Winds could be around 25 mph.
Trinity fires multiply
Meanwhile, two lightning-triggered fires in Trinity County continue to rage with little containment.
The monument fire has now burned 15,000 acres, up from 9,000 acres, the US Forest Service said on Wednesday. There is no containment of the fire.
Forestry officials said the fire keeps showing up and is now established on the north side of the Trinity River.
“Four point fires have now crossed the Trinity River and Highway 299. The light remains south of Del Loma and (half a mile) east of Big Bar,” officials said in their update. Wednesday. “On the west side, the fire crossed Panther Creek and spread over Canadian Creek. On the south side, the fire still holds on Monument Peak and adjacent ridges.
The behavior of the fire led to an evacuation order for Cedar Flat and a pre-emptive evacuation warning for the community of Burnt Ranch, west of the blaze.
In addition, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for Big Flat on Tuesday evening.
The monument almost reached the size of the McFarland Fire, which burned just under 16,000 acres in Trinity County, officials said. The McFarland fire is contained at 5%.
The McFarland Fire burns in the McFarland Ridge area south of Highway 36.
Evacuation orders were issued for the community of Wildwood and evacuation warnings were in place for Post Mountain and Trinity Pines. Highway 36 is closed from White Rock Road at the junction with Highway 3.
Also on Tuesday, Shasta County Sheriff’s Deputies issued evacuation warnings due to the McFarland fire.
MPs said the following areas were subject to an evacuation warning:
- Shield Route
- Route de la Roche Blanche
- Harrison Gulch Road from Highway 36 to Deer Lick Springs Road
The fire is burning in both Trinity County and the southwest corner of Shasta County, forestry officials say.
Lightning fires in the Klamath National Forest
There have been 12 lightning-induced fires in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County. The fires burned a total of 1,042 acres, forestry officials said on Tuesday.
On Monday evening, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for the Antelope Creek area near Tennant due to the Antelope fire.
A temporary evacuation point has been set up at Dorris Town Hall, according to the sheriff’s office.
An evacuation order has also been issued for Taylor Creek Road and surrounding areas.
Earlier Monday, the sheriff’s office issued an evacuation warning for the Forks of Salmon and Sawyers Bar areas.
David Benda covers business, development and everything else for the USA TODAY network in Redding. He also writes the weekly column “Buzz on the Street”. He is part of a team of dedicated journalists who investigate wrongdoing, cover the latest news and tell other stories about your community. Join him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and perpetuate this work, please register today.