OLD STATION, Shasta County (CBS SF) -- Spot fires and above-average temperatures were challenging firefighters battling the massive Dixie Fire burning across five Northern California counties Friday.
As of Friday morning, the wildfire had burned 750,672 acres, nearly 1,200 square miles in Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, and Tehama counties. More than 1,200 structures, including homes and businesses, have been destroyed since the fire began on July 14 above the Cresta Dam in the Feather River Canyon.
Temperatures in the low to mid 90s with low humidity were forecast across the Dixie Fire area. An increase in fire behavior is anticipated with this forecasted hot and dry weather, Cal Fire said.
On Thursday a spot fire near Grizzly Ridge south of Genesee in Plumas County reached the top of the ridge and firefighters were working Friday to keep it from moving to the west.
"Usually what happens is when the fire comes up the ridge is it has intensity, you don't want it to slop over the ridge," said California Incident Management Operations Chief Chad Cook in a Friday morning briefing. "So we usually will light (a back) fire that will pull that fire downhill so it minimizes the intensity and our plan is to keep up with that and keep it up on this ridge system."
Fire lines were continuing to be built to protect the community of Taylorsville from the Grizzly spot fire and aircraft dropping both water and retardant will continue to be used to slow the blaze as air quality allows, Cal Fire said. East of Taylorsville, flames backing down Mt. Jura reached the bottom of the valley, the lines held, and crews will continue mopping up Friday.
- Cal Fire Incident Report: Evacuations, Maps, Road Closures
- Evacuation Maps: Butte, Plumas County | Lassen County | Tehama County
- County Websites: Butte County | Lassen County | Plumas County | Tehama County
Cook said the movement toward Taylorsville is just the latest threat to the community which has seen fire approach from three sides over the last month-and-a-half.
"That growth going out to the west is a trigger to make sure we have a solid line around Taylorsville," said Cook. "There are preparations for a line that is above town that we will continue to prep. We're going to keep a large contingent of fire engines in Taylorville for any threats that could arise."
Multiple contingency lines have been constructed between Grizzly Ridge, Quincy and Greenhorn. Other contingency lines were being built north of Davis Lake. Other spot fires emanating from the Grizzly spot fire were being extinguished in the Genesee Valley area.
The fire by Janesville and Milford in Lassen County did not a change in its footprint and Cal Fire said although smoke continues to be seen, it is all well interior of the containment lines. There was also progress made in the vicinity of Antelope Lake.
Cal Fire said firefighters were experiencing conditions never seen before, such as increased spread rates, spotting and active nighttime burning.
There were two community meetings scheduled for local residents to receive additional updates. A virtual meeting for the Dixie Fire east zone was scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. It can be viewed live on both the Lassen and Plumas National Forest Facebook pages, or via Zoom at https://tinyurl.com/bzrm5599
Another meeting was scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Shasta County Fire Department in Old Station.
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