Dixie Fire Stories Interview

I did an interview a couple months ago with Joanne Burgueño, a photographer who helps run the Dixie Fire Stories page on Facebook. They have been running multi-part interviews, with photos, with people who went thru the Dixie Fire in one way or another. Here it is: My name is Zeke Lunder. I’m a geographer … Read more

A Conversation with Sue Husari

Lassen Hotshots, 1977. Zeke: Okay. We have a visitor today, Sue Husari, legendary wildland firefighter, first female Hotshot, and veteran leader in American wildland fire with a fire career spanning 5 decades. Welcome to The Lookout, Sue! When did you know that you were going to have a career in fire? Sue Husari: Well, I … Read more

Forest Management and the Dixie Fire Video

This video shows how a major wind event in early August, 2021, created extreme fire behavior west of Chester, California. We use satellite-derived forestry data to investigate whether past forest management had any effect on survival of trees in the approximately 100,000-acre area affected by the firestorm. This video is focused on forest conditions and fire behavior in the area around Chester and Swain Mountain. Fire behavior throughout the almost 1,000,000 acre Dixie Fire had a large amount of variety.

We’ll look at other parts of the fire in other videos. This video is a production of The Lookout (the-lookout.org), a user-supported wildfire journalism and education initiative run by Zeke and Erika Lunder, in Chico, California.

Guest Photo Essay – Southern Sierra Forests

Here is a guest photo essay from Darin McQuoid. He saw a post we did last week on the fires in the Southern Sierra where we mentioned tree mortality, so he sent us these great photos. We welcome submissions like this. Thanks, Darin! December 12, 2015: Tree mortality from bark beetle. Castle Rock and Paradise … Read more

Southern Sierra Fires – 9/21/2021

9/21/2021 at 6am KNP COMPLEX Today’s Briefing Map IR Interpreter’s log Jeremy Hurd: Minor growth to perimeter, with the most significant in the SSW areas. Center of the perimeter continues to show some isolated heat sources as the scattered heat continues to withdraw toward the outer perimeters. Below are maps of the KNP Complex burning … Read more

Lassen Park and Caribou Wilderness Fire Severity – 9/11/2021

Getting the Wildfire Story Wrong We have been hearing a lot of people express concern about the amount of acreage burned in Lassen Volcanic National Park during the Dixie Fire. Part of this is the fault of sloppy reporting and articles by nationally respected publications that are getting the story wrong. This is common. Our … Read more

Dixie Fire Effects – Two Videos

We got into the burned area of the West Zone of the Dixie Fire on September 10, right after about a half-inch of rain. We looked at some of the ways the fire has affected the forests. The two videos below show what we saw on our trip. This first video shows post-fire forest conditions … Read more

Caldor Fire – Fire Severity and 9/8/2021 Heat Maps

9/8/2021 at 7am Below is a morning report from our contributor ‘Tumbleweed,’ a retired wildfire captain. Also check out our latest Youtube video, which discusses the burn severity of the Caldor Fire.  IR from 22:40 (10:40pm) on September 7. Isolated heat has been removed for clarity on some pics. Clear areas do not indicate … Read more

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 … Read more

Caldor Fire – 8/28/2021

UPDATED  8/28/2021, 10 pm Here is the situation status summary from the incident command team on the fire. These can be downloaded daily from here: Significant Events The overnight inversion lingered in the lower elevations of the incident reducing fire activity until 14:00. Once the inversion broke, activity began to increase in Div D and … Read more

Dixie Fire – Burn Severity

I know so many of you are just getting back home, or trying to get home… if you have a home left to go to. People with attachments to this land have lost so much. Please don’t read this post as minimizing how the Dixie Fire has been terrible for our communities. In the spirit … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/21/2021

8pm update: Genesee Valley was the hub of much of the action today. Mill Creek/Highlands area looks like it is cooling down. Minor spread on N side of Lassen Park, and Fredoyer Summit. Some movement south toward Milford. Infrared mapping from 5pm, 8/21/2021. EARLIER: Good morning, everyone. Today is my dad’s 76th birthday and the … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/17/2021 Evening

Good evening. With a half million-plus acre fire, there is always something to report! Most fire we are looking at tonight is in locations that have been active for the past week, so let’s start the check-in. Today we got data from a Sentinel satellite orbit. This is like Christmas for map geeks. Here is … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/16/2021

UPDATE: The new fires on Morgan Summit have grown together and are 10,000 acres. A firing operation along Highway 89 aimed to keep the fire to the east of the Park Road. Firing occurred at the Visitor Center at the old ski area, and I have no intel on any damage to facilities there. Here … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/15/2021

Good morning everyone, Well, we continue to grind this one out. On this topic, it is worth mentioning that many of our worst wildfire disasters and accidents have happened during transitions between management teams. The east zone will be transitioning to a new Federal Type I Incident Management Team this afternoon. Often, a lot of … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/14/2021 Evening

Good evening. The Dixie Fire made some moves today. Nothing on the west side really blew out more than a mile between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm, but there were a few noteworthy runs. The east side of the fire pushed up a towering column, and I think this kept the IR plane from getting … Read more

Dixie Fire Severity – 8/12/2021

We use the term ‘fire severity’ to describe a fire’s level of impact on the vegetation, soil, and overall ecology of a place. High severity isn’t always bad – some ecosystems like chaparral are well-suited to it. You can really go down a rabbit hole on this topic, and every place is different in what … Read more