Watch CBS News

Firefighters Hold Caldor, Dixie Fires In Check; Newly Arrived Hot Shot Teams Bolster Fire Lines

QUINCY (CBS SF) -- For the first time in nearly two months, the raging flames of Northern California's two megafires -- the Caldor Fire in Tahoe and the Dixie Fire in Plumas County -- showed little growth overnight as firefighters gained containment of the two blazes that have burned more than 1,720 square miles.

By Wednesday morning, the Dixie Fire stood at 922,192 acres and was 59% contained. Meanwhile, the Caldor Fire had grown to 217,569 acres -- just over 500 acres overnight -- and was 50% contained.

"Today was another successful day," said Dusty Martin, unified incident commander for the West Zone of the Caldor Fire, at his Tuesday night update. "We were able to continue up in that northern side in the Wrights Lake area with continued success. As well on the south side. We are taking the little wins that are eventually adding up to the bigger win."

"Tonight we are at 50% percent containment," he continued. "Which is a pretty big feat over the last three weeks. However, that means we still have 50% of this fire left.

Officials cleared two additional areas for repopulation on Tuesday:

  • West of Ice House Road; from Placer County Line; South to Highway 50 and East of Junction Reservoir
  • All homes accessed from both sides of Pioneer Trail from the South Lake Tahoe city limits starting at Al Tahoe Blvd. and moving west, stopping before Elks Club

Along the western edge of the fire, where the blaze began south of Pollock Pines on Aug. 14th, residents continued to be allowed to return to the devastated community of Grizzly Flats. Several hundred homes burned there as a wall of flames began its march toward Highway 50.

Among the lucky ones whose home survived was Bryan and Linda Katt. On Tuesday, they posted a hand written sign on the road in front of their home, thanking firefighters for their efforts.

"I didn't think that we would have a home to come back to," Linda said.

Bryan added: "Getting that text yesterday (telling him his home was still standing) was like winning the lottery."

Meanwhile to the north in Plumas County at the massive Dixie Fire, a change in the wind conditions helped crews halt the blaze's southeastern march in the Dixie Valley.

"The winds pushed the fire back onto itself," said Jeff Surber, the operations chief. "We had dozers, we had hotshot crews, we had aircraft. We had everything pretty much pounding on it."

In a Tuesday evening update, fire officials said they had halted the fire's advance.

"Firefighters made great progress improving and holding containment lines on the southeast side of the fire, and for the first time in many days, operations reported little if any fire growth," officials said in a news release. "Most of the Dixie Fire perimeter remained quiet today, however interior pockets of unburned fuel (as they ignite) continue to threaten lines and produce smoke across the fire area, especially during the heat of the day."

The fire has also crossed over into the burn scar left by the from the Sugar Fire which was part of the Beckwourth Complex blaze -- lightning-ignited wildfires that burned 105,670 acres in July.



View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.