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Dixie Fire Tops 200,000 Acres; Erratic Weather 'Pushing Around Our Crews'

QUINCY, Plumas County (CBS SF) -- Erratic weather conditions stoked the Dixie Fire burning in Butte and Plumas counties overnight, with the area burned now topping 200,000 acres Tuesday.

Cal Fire reported the containment of the wildfire is now at 23% after burning 208,206 acres as of Tuesday morning. The fire is now the 14th largest fire in state history.

The weather in the fire area has swung from gusty winds fanning the wildfire and direct sunlight keeping temperatures high to winds changing direction and smoke shading the fire area and helping decrease temperatures.

"It kind of cleared off here [Monday evening], the winds kind of picked up and the fire activity picked up pretty significantly. It kinda started pushing our crews around a little bit," said Dennis Burns, fire behavior analyst with California Interagency Incident Management Team 2. "And then the winds kind of reversed and it was actually favorable to us."


On the eastern perimeter of the wildfire, Cal Fire said firefighters used tactical firing operations along Mount Hough Road to solidify the defense of the towns of Quincy and Chandler. Another firing operation may be undertaken to protect the community of Taylorsville. A line near Round Valley Reservoir is part of a larger line planned across the northeast portion of the fire to protect the communities of Greenville and Crescent Mills along Highway 89.

Dixie Fire
Dixie Fire as seen from the town of Quincy, Plumas County, July 27, 2021. (Cal Fire)

On the southern portion of the fire, firefighters were working northeast of Bucks Lake where a 12-acre spot fire developed yesterday after smoke in that area cleared and the fire became more active, Cal Fire said.

On the western side of the fire, Cal Fire said the main fire activity will continue in the drainages to the north and west as unburned interior fuels are consumed, Cal Fire said. Spot fires remained the greatest threat and crews were attacking the fire and reinforcing containment lines. Winds were forecast to be 10-15 miles an hour with gusts up to 20-25 mph along the ridges.

Cal Fire said there were 5,106 firefighters working the Dixie Fire, At least 31 structures have been destroyed in the Dixie Fire so far, with another 7 structures damaged.

The fire has been burning since July 14. No injuries have been reported so far and the cause is under investigation.


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