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The Dixie Fire continues to burn in the northern state, causing mandatory evacuations, warnings and road closures in California counties of Plumas, Butte, Lassen and Tehama.
More than 4,900 people are fighting the blaze, which started around 5:15 p.m. on July 13 in the Lassen National Forest.
The cause of the Dixie Fire – and the Fly Fire, absorbed by Dixie – is under investigation, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Check back on this story for updates.
4:50 p.m .: New evacuations ordered in Tehama County
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office has ordered further mandatory evacuations in the eastern part of the county due to the Dixie fire.
The evacuations relate to the area around Wilson Lake, north to the Plumas County line, south to Hwy 36, and east to the Plumas County line.
Evacuations apply to areas C18 and C19 of this digital map provided by Tehama County officials.
4:30 p.m .: Plumas County MPs in Chester, Greenville: “Go now”
The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office is telling anyone still in Chester or Greenville to leave immediately due to the danger of the Dixie fire.
Those still in Chester should evacuate east, according to the sheriff’s office. If people cannot evacuate the area and are threatened by fire, they should take refuge on the Chester High School baseball field if they can get there safely, the sheriff’s office said.
MPs said anyone in the Greenville area should evacuate south to Quincy.
“If you are still in the Greenville area you are in imminent danger and you MUST go now !!” the sheriff’s office wrote in a Facebook post. “If you stay, rescuers may not be able to help you. “
4:15 p.m .: Power cut in Chester, in the communities of Lake Almanor
The Dixie fire caused power outages that affected more than 1,500 customers of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in Chester, according to the utility company.
PG&E has also reported blackouts in other communities around Almanor Lake, including Canyondam, Prattville, Clear Creek, Hamilton Branch and the entire peninsula.
The company has sent utility crews to “assess the situation,” PG&E said on its website, and hopes to restore power by Wednesday evening.
Access the PG&E fault map on https://bit.ly/3Cgr19E for details.
3:30 p.m .: Smoke, bad air to ride over Shasta County
People are being warned to take precautions as smoke from the Dixie Fire and other blazes burning in the Northern State is polluting the air in Shasta County.
The Shasta County Air Quality Management District has warned residents that their health could be affected this week as winds blow smoke from wildfires and its polluting particles across the area.
While all residents will see smoggy skies, the communities closest to the wildfires and those in the path of the wind currents will likely be the hardest hit, according to a district advisory released on Wednesday.
- Smoke from the Dixie fire will likely impact areas in the eastern part of the county including Shingletown, Old Station, Burney and Fall River Mills.
- Smoke from the fires burning in Shasta Trinity National Forest will likely impact areas north and west of Shasta County and Siskiyou County including Dunsmuir, Castella, Platina, Igo and French Gulch.
Expect the worst air quality in the late evening and early morning, the district said. The smoke may disperse a bit in the afternoon.
Everyone – especially those with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, children and pregnant women – should limit exposure to smoke, regardless of their health, according to Shasta County Public Health:
- Limit exercise and outdoor activities.
- Stay indoors with windows and doors closed.
- Turn on an air conditioner with a recirculation setting, such as in vehicles.
To check the air quality in your area, go to EPA Fire and Smoke Map at https://fire.airnow.gov or call the Shasta County Air Quality Management District at 530-225-5674.
Fire and smoke map
11:30 a.m. New Lassen County evacuation warnings called
The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation warnings Wednesday morning for the following areas:
- Clear Creek, south of Hwy 36 from Lassen County line east to A21 Mooney Road. This includes Highway 147.
- Areas south of Mountain Meadows Reservoir, Hamilton Branch Waterway, east to Lassen / Plumas County line.
Fanned by the winds, the Dixie Fire exploded nearly 20,000 acres overnight – hitting 274,139 acres on Wednesday morning, from 254,400 acres on Tuesday night.
Dixie surpassed the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego County as the eighth largest wildland fire in state history, the Cal Fire said.
On Wednesday morning, the fire was 35% under control.
“The winds are starting to react, with southerly and westerly winds becoming more frequent with gusts of up to 20 mph,” firefighters said in their update on Wednesday morning.
Firefighters will continue to fight the red flag conditions until Thursday evening, according to the National Weather Service of Sacramento. They can expect very dry brush on Wednesday and Thursday, with gusts of up to 25 mph stoking the flames.
Dixie destroyed at least 67 structures, 45 of which were homes or businesses, according to Cal Fire. 12,182 other structures are currently threatened by the fire, which has grown dramatically in recent days.
On Tuesday, further evacuations were ordered in Greenville – a community of around 1,000 people – as well as the town of Chester and the east shore of nearby Almanor Lake.
The Associated Press reported that firefighters prevented the flames from reaching homes in the small community of Greenville, near the Plumas National Forest, in Plumas and Butte counties on Monday.
Spot fires broke out on some perimeters on Tuesday and burned several acres of brush on the west side of the blaze, even as crews reduced areas of unburned fuel with bulldozers and dumped some 230,000 gallons of fire retardants, a said Mike Wink, a chief of the state fire operations section.
The heat from the flames also created a cloud of pyrocumulus, a huge column of smoke that rose 30,000 feet (10,000 meters) into the air, the AP reported.
Where to find more information
For information on the latest road closures, evacuation orders, and other information, see the following sources:
Jessica Skropanic is a trade journalist for Record Searchlight / USA Today Network. It covers science, the arts, social issues, and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Neither the Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and perpetuate this work, please register today. Thank you.