4:08 p.m. PDT July 19, 2021
In a report to the California Public Utilities Commission, Pacific Gas and Electric explains that on July 13 the company’s equipment may have ignited the Dixie Fire which has burned more than 30,000 acres along Highway 70. The fire is 25 miles north of Oroville. It has burned over or around the communities of Dixie, Merlin, Rock Creek, Storrie, Tobin, and Belden. Remarkably, CAL FIRE has not reported any burned structures, but says 810 are threatened.
PG&E said that at 7 a.m. on July 13 their system detected a loss of power in Feather River Canyon. From a distance their troubleman could see what looked like a blown fuse on a 12 kV power line. Because of challenging terrain and a closed bridge, the report said, another 9 hours and 40 minutes elapsed before he could access the site. He found that two fuses were blown and a live tree was leaning onto the power line. There was a fire on the ground near the base of the tree.
(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Dixie Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)
At that time the company called 911 to report the fire. The operator said they were aware of the fire and units were responding.
The Dixie Fire has burned 14 miles northeast through Feather River Canyon and stretches 5 miles northwest from the river.
The fire was very active Saturday and Sunday moving to the east and north, becoming well established on the southeast side of the Feather River, mirroring what was happening on the other side of the canyon.
Firefighters are constructing direct fire lines to stop the spread and are building indirect contingency lines to protect the communities at risk. Much of the fire is in steep terrain.
Resources assigned to the Dixie Fire Monday morning included 54 hand crews, 17 helicopters, 110 engines, 29 dozers, and 19 water tenders for a total of 1,918 personnel.
Below is very impressive video of pyrocumulus (the white cloud) forming over the intensely burning Dixie Fire Sunday afternoon.
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) July 19, 2021