Dixie Fire – 9/3/2021

Here is a video briefing for 9/3/2021.

5:00am, 9/3/2021
Still quite a lot of action on the Dixie Fire. This writeup is based on interpretation of 9:30pm mapping flights of the southeast and northeast corners of the fire.

The big wind-driven run to the southeast has dropped off the escarpment toward Highway 395 right at Herlong Junction, aka The Mark mini-mart.

The fire’s eastward spread has slowed a bit and now it’s squirting out to the north and south, spotting over hastily-pushed dozer line. The dozerline mapping I have includes the Beckwourth Complex and shows 1,760 miles of dozer line. Just for giggles, if we assuming these dozer lines are an average of 15 feet wide — many are much wider — that’s 3,500 acres of dozed ground.

Anyhow, indirect or direct, it seems like dozer line still isn’t buying us much advantage unless we have time to prep and fire it. If we keep pushing dirt, we’ll hit 2,000 miles by the time we get it all on the map. One thing dozer line does buy us is noxious weed infestations, erosion, damage to our meadows and streams, destruction of the first locals’ village sites, and new access and future roads for ATVs and dirt bikes. Dozeritis is a disease; bad for the land.

Looking west over Herlong Junction. Pale color on left is Beckwourth Complex from earlier this summer. Dozer lines in black, heat mapping from 9:30pm on September 2.


Looking west over new lateral spread on the fire. Check out all of the interior dozer line on the Beckwourth Complex. It’s inside the fire because it didn’t work. I predict Dixie will burn into Beckwourth, but not before we push enough dozer line to get cross that 2,000 mile mark.


Closer view of the eastern edge of the fire. I also predict Dixie will burn to 395, at least, because we don’t have good access or the resources to fire and hold the dozer lines we pushed there.



Looking north of Lake Davis.



Looking south over Taylorsville at the remaining heat on top of Grizzly Peak.



The fire was active in the northeast corner yesterday, but it lacked the terrain to really push up a big column or make a sustained run. On the weather satellites yesterday, this part of the fire stayed under a heavy layer of smoke. (Satellite image from the end of afternoon, September 2).



Here is the general area we are talking about, west of Bogard Rest Area/Ranger Station (home of the Lassen Hotshots).



Now that winds have eased a bit, this part of the fire seems to want to head north, the direction this view faces.



Looking west toward Caribou Wilderness (yellow-green) and Lassen Volcanic National Park, in purple outline. You can see dozer line in and out of the southern flank of the area that ran to the east three days ago, and a spot over the dozer line in center of the image.



Looking west over the “Westwood Logging Road.” How those dozers working out?



Coming around to the far north end of the fire in Lassen Park, fire spread is minimal in the southern end of the 2012 Reading Fire footprint. Some firing has been ongoing on West Prospect Peak for about a week, and it looks like they are taking it nice and slow. It seems like there is some potential for firing on West Prospect that could escape to the west if we had strong east winds and fire moved out of the Reading footprint. I think the plan was to carry fire to the west (right) along the northern boundary of the Reading Fire. This could be unnecessary if fire continues to be hung up in the Reading scar to the south, but incident management teams hate open line on the map. They want everything tied up and tidy. Given how many of our firing operations on this side of Dixie have escaped our control in past two weeks, putting more fire on the ground here is a high-risk proposition heading into our strong north/east wind season, but so is leaving the back door open. Fire managers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.



If you are working these firing operations and want to help me tell a more accurate story, I welcome your emails or calls, and am happy to keep any contacts anonymous. If I’m off base with my interpretations or arm-waving, I’ll be happy to write corrections.