GREENVILLE (CBS SF) -- Residents were overcome with emotions and tears flowed freely Saturday as they returned to the burned-out remains of Greenville, shifting through the piles of rubble that were once their homes for any cherish memento that survived the onslaught of the devastating Dixie Fire.
While the massive blaze has moved on, it continues to challenge firefighters miles to the north and southeast where it still rages in the woods and wilderness of Lassen Volcanic National Park and as it advances toward homes in the Dixie Valley.
The fire's burn zone grew to 893,852 acres by Sunday morning and was 56 percent contained. If the nearly 1,000 miles of fire lines were stretched out they would run nearly from the Oregon state line to the border with Mexico.
Officials also sadly announced a firefighter assigned to the blaze had died. He had fallen ill. No other details were released as of Sunday morning.
The fire has destroyed 692 homes, many of those during the early stages in Greenville, Warner Valley and Canyondam.
Riley Cantrell was among those who returned to Greenville. She stood with her boyfriend Bradley Fairbanks amid the ruins of her mother's home. They said that the family's dog died at the home and was buried by firefighters who later found it.
Curtis and Wendy Weight also stood amid the debris. They were selling their property and were set to close escrow in two weeks. But the fire has dashed those plans.
Cody Najera returned too. He stood amid the rubble, holding a coffee mug that had somehow survived the flames that consumed his home.
In its early days, the blaze roared through Greenville leaving few structures standing. The business district was ravaged, a burned out mail delivery truck still bears witness to the ferocity of the flames.
While the residents were returning to Greenville, the firefight continued elsewhere Sunday morning.
Up in the wilderness of the Lassen Volcanic National Park, the fire continued to burn through timber and scrub brush, sparking spot fires that moved it northeast, ever closer to Highway 44.
To the southeast, the fire was very active in the Coyote Hills, Horton Ridge and Ross Canyon areas on Saturday. Firefighters building a control line were challenged by shifting winds as the flames roared through dense forestland.
As the fire advances, it edges closer to merging with the burn scar left over from July's Beckwourth Complex blaze. That lightning ignited fire was at 105,670 acres and was 98 percent contained within the Plumas National Forest.
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