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 – 8/14/2021 Update

Good morning, this post has been update with detailed maps from IR captured at 6:30 am, 8/14/2021. There were some firing operations along the Highway 36 corridor last night. Don’t know exactly where, but Westwood and other communities are still safe. Biggest change this morning is the fire added about 4,000 acres on the west … 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

Dixie Fire – Friday the 13th

Just another crazy day/night on the Dixie Fire. Last night’s post is bleeding into today’s – what an night! As of 2am, Westwood, Clear Creek, Hamilton Branch, and the Peninsula were still standing. But today is Friday the 13th, it’s another critical fire weather day, and our communities are literally surrounded by fire. There has … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/12/2021 Morning

11:20 Update: Today’s weather is problematic for firefighters. The smoke is lifting out, and the forecasts call for increasing instability in the atmosphere. The Haines Index is a number which meteorologists use to quantify the potential instability, with a score of 6 being the highest. Today’s Haines is a 6. We often see big runs … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/11/2021 Evening

Good evening, everyone. The fire was relatively subdued under heavy smoke today. The biggest run was about a mile, inside the 2007 Moonlight Burn, headed east toward Antelope Lake on the east flank of the fire, north of Eisenheimer Peak. Another run of about 2,000 feet, headed southwest, occurred on the northern flank of fire … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/10/2021 Evening

The fire burned actively today on the fronts which are still hot. Things seemed to be most active around 4:00 pm. Smoke limited visibility on the webcams. This intel sleuthing means working with all the tools we have, and the platforms that update the most often are the ones that have the coarsest texture. Even … Read more

8/9/2021 – KQED Interview

Today I did an interview on KQED: https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101884878/dixie-fire-3rd-largest-in-california-history Content below is from KQED website: A firefighter surveys a destroyed downtown during the Dixie fire in Greenville, California on Aug. 5, 2021.  (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images) The Dixie Fire, which has ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres in Northern California and leveled the … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/7/2021 – Morning

Heavy smoke is in the forecast for some time, now. Morning AQ is at apocalyptic levels, though we aren’t under the Martian sky like we were last September. Looking for some info on a longer-term forecast and how that will affect smoke dispersion, will update when I have better info. The forecast below says a … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/6/2021 – Evening Report, Smoke, Fire Behavior

I do not have a lot to report about the Dixie Fire today. Heavy smoke blanketed the fire all day. This, coupled with mild winds, helped moderate fire behavior. Looking at the big-picture weather satellites, it looks like the fire spread on its edges, to the west and east, but not very far. Fires need … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/5/2021 – Afternoon

Well, things are really going to hell on the Dixie Fire. The forecast frontal passage is starting to affect the fire, winds are shifting to out of the west. 8/5/2021 – 4:30 pm. What this means, basically, is as the front passes, we are going to get radical wind shifts, and the potential for thunderstorms … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/5/2021 Morning

This was one of our first posts. The Lookout was born during the Dixie Fire.

For people in Northeastern California, yesterday was obviously a historic/generational event that will be remembered in the same way we talk about the 1910 Big Blowup, Loma Prieta Earthquake, or the 2018 Camp Fire. But today we’ll being having ‘aftershocks’ so the post is going to look mainly forward at the next couple of days.

This report focuses on the northern parts of the fire. IR mapping shows no growth of the fire in areas around Jonesville, Quincy or Bucks Lake.

We are still in critical fire weather conditions. The forecast for today:

 334 AM PDT Thu Aug 5 2021
 A period of significant critical conditions are expected through 
 Thursday with Red Flag Warnings in effect as a strong trough 
 moves into the region today. Ridge and upper slope winds increase
 tonight before surfacing to valleys this afternoon. Overnight 
 recoveries will be poor through Friday. Winds will be slow to drop
 off Thursday night with another round of dry conditions.

The main problem with the weather forecast is after keeping on blowing from the south for most of the day, we are forecast to get strong west winds this evening which will turn to NW tonight. This has the potential to take a lot of the flanks on our long new south>north fire runs and squeegee them sideways to the east. We fight fire along the flanks, so when the flank turns into the head, it is dangerous for firefighters. I’ll break out the fire behavior concerns for area of the fire in the images below. The main thing is to be aware if you have fire west of you right now, it may be moving your way tonight.

Imagery is still showing the bulk of the fire spread yesterday went around Chester and the Collins Pine sawmill. For anyone out there wondering why we are having problems controlling this fire, or why we aren’t using more bulldozers, today’s piece of trivia is that the ‘Superditch’ flood control canal just west of Chester is 100 yards wide, and it didn’t stop the fire at all.

Scroll down for Greenville-area maps.

The finger of fire that reached out for Almanor West did not spread yesterday, however there was spread toward Almanor West from the west from the intense run that took off toward Chester yesterday. Lake Almanor West may be threatened by west winds this evening, as may be the northern edge of Chester. The fire will spread further up toward Lassen Park, and likely get pushed into the clearcuts and plantations south of Echo Lake. Depending on how far east the fire spreads, forecast northwest or north winds may threaten the Peninsula, Hamilton Branch, or Clear Creek. For reference, the fire spread 8 miles to the north yesterday around Chester, and is currently 12 miles from Clear Creek and 8 miles from the Peninsula. On fires over the past few years, we have observed enhanced rates of fire spread across areas with clearcuts and tree farms. Nothing political here, just the facts. The cutblocks are hot and dry, and exposed to the wind. Fire likes them. To the timberland owners credit, the clearcuts in this photo look like they’ve had good slash cleanup. Even so, I don’t expect them to slow the fire spread down.

Looking south over Chester. IR imagery from last night, 8/4/2021, at 11:45 pm. White line shows 22 hrs of fire spread.

Looking NE toward Chester over Black Forest Lodge and Highway 36. IR imagery from last night, 8/4/2021, at 11:45 pm. White line shows 22 hrs of fire spread. Fire has spread over Stover Mountain and into Warner Valley.
Northern edge is approaching Lassen Park boundary. Green line is Plumas/Tehama County line.

IR imagery from last night, 8/4/2021, at 11:45 pm. White line shows 22 hrs of fire spread. Looking north over Canyondam and Highway 89. Fire ran 4-5 miles yesterday. There was new spread from Butt Lake up toward Canyondam. Firing operations below the Dam have been holding for 2 weeks, but it is likely the westerly winds this evening will push the fire east across the North Fork Feather River and threaten Canyondam. Winds are forecast to switch back to southerly midday Friday. The main fingers in this view will continue to push up Keddie Ridge. West winds tonight could push fire in Pecks Valley, north of Greenville, to the east, threatening the North Arm of Indian Valley and North Valley Road. IR imagery from last night, 8/4/2021, at 11:45 pm. White line shows 22 hrs of fire spread.

Poor Greenville. Looking West. Smoke has already lifted out of the Valley at 7am, and fire crossed Greenville Saddle last night. The portion of fire which slopped across Highway 89 2 days ago at Old Haun Road was checked up with dozer line and held thru yesterday, but a new run to the west is going to burn up Keddie Ridge anyway. Yesterday afternoon, the fire moved east on the north slopes above Highway 89 toward Forgay Point. The east flank of the run up Greenville Saddle will threaten North Valley Road and the North Arm if it gets a strong push from NW winds tonight. There aren’t many good places to control the fire as it moves toward the bottom of the screen. IR imagery from last night, 8/5/2021, about 6:00 am. White line shows about 30 hrs of fire spread.

Finally, this section is North of Jonesville and Humboldt Summit along Humboldt Road. The fire  has crossed Humboldt Road for most of its length now, and is flanking to the west toward Highway 32. Though this is not ideal, at all, we may get some lower severity fire effects here, in an area which has had fire in past 15 years, and needs it again. We have few options for managing fuel loads and forest density in the roadless areas of Deer Creek, and the last fire that burned here (shown in light blue), in 2008, thinned thick forests and left many of the largest trees. Nevertheless, this portion of the fire has few options for control short of running bulldozers down the PCT (along the green county line), which probably wouldn’t work, anyway. It will be interesting to see how this flank of the fire pans out, and I’ll write more about it later. IR imagery from last night, 8/4/2021, at 11:45 pm. White line shows 22 hrs of fire spread.