OLD STATION, Shasta County (CBS SF) -- While rain showers tamed the massive Dixie Fire along its southeastern edge, the erratic winds kicked up by thundershowers whipped up a six-mile wide swath of the blaze north of Lassen Volcanic National Park, fueling a 13-mile run by a massive wall of flames.
Cal Fire West Zone Operations Chief Tony Brownell said Thursday the overnight firefight was intense around and north of the Shasta County community of Old Station.
"It came out of the park and it burned up past Old Station," he said. "It made 13-mile run and was six miles wide. That is a lot of acreage in a short amount of time. It was very intense fire behavior. We had 40 to 50-foot flame lengths coming off."
Brownell said the blaze roared across Highway 44 "like it wasn't even there."
Fire crews were able to save the homes and structures in Old Station and its subdivisions. They were strengthening those control lines around Old Station on Friday morning.
Rain also fell over the flames, but it didn't stop them.
"We got a quarter-inch to half-an-inch, but that doesn't put the fire out," Brownell said. "The fuel moistures are so extreme right now, it'll slow the fire down. But once the sun gets back on it and the wind gets on it, it will want to get up and move again."
The Dixie Fire may have exceeded 1 million acres in size. With the overnight advance not accounted for, the Dixie Fire stood at 950,591 acres with 59% containment.
While Brownell's team was being challenged to the north, it was a much different story for East Zone Operation Chief Jeff Surber's team.
While the wall of flames has forced crews to retreat numerous times during the nearly two-month firefight, along the southeastern edge they were pulled for a much different reason early Friday.
"From the reports we were getting from the night shift, they pulled folks out of the mud and got them on to more hard surface roads," said Surber in his Friday morning update. "There was little to no fire activity and they just retreated to places where they won't bend metal and having problems with their vehicles coming out of these deep, dusty roads that turned to pretty deep mud."
"Pretty much this [rainy weather] will put a damper on the fire today," he added.
Surber said additional resources were being moved from the eastern zone of the blaze to with the northwestern edge to keep flames from reaching Old Station beyond the northern entrance to the national park.
"We had two type-one hotshot crews on the night shift and day shift that I've offered up to [the west zone]," Surber said. "Their fire made a run out to the north last night -- a pretty good run last night -- and they could use those crews."
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