Dixie Fire grows to nearly 60,000 acres in Northern California

25 miles north of Oroville

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Updated at 7:17 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021

Map of the Dixie Fire
Map of the Dixie Fire. The white line was the perimeter July 19. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021.

The Dixie Fire 13 air miles northeast of Paradise, California was very active again Tuesday afternoon. The convection column of smoke did not reach the towering heights seen in previous days, probably because the 15 to 20 mph winds recorded at Flea Mountain gusting between 20 and 28 mph mitigated massive vertical development, blowing the smoke rapidly off to the northeast.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Dixie Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

A satellite overflight at 3 p.m. (see the map above) showed large amounts of heat on the north  and northeast sides — north and south of Highway 70. At that time the fire was moving closer to the communities of Twain, Caribou, and Paxton.

Satellite Photo, Dixie and Tamarack Fires
Satellite photo, Dixie and Tamarack Fires at 6:26 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021.
Dixie Fire
Dixie Fire as seen from Bald Mountain, looking NE at 1:23 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021. AlertWildfire.

2:23 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021

Firefighters on the Dixie Fire
Firefighters on the Dixie Fire. Strike Team 9163G looking at a very impressive pyrocumulus cloud, July, 2021. CAL FIRE photo.

The Dixie Fire grew by tens of thousands of acres Monday, reaching 59,984 acres by the end of the day. It now stretches for about 15 miles along the Feather River Canyon and Highway 70, an area known for its steep, barely accessible terrain.

The fire is burning on both sides of the canyon, an area where firefighters have in the past had problems with radio communication caused by the steep slopes.

It is moving to the north and northeast during the day. After sunset Monday, down-canyon winds brought smoke to lower elevations south and southwest of the fire.

Satellite Photo, Dixie Fire
Satellite Photo showing smoke from the Dixie Fire 12:31 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021. NOAA GOES 17.

Evacuation orders are in effect for some areas in Plumas and Butte Counties. A map is available, and CAL FIRE has other evacuation information.

Resources assigned Tuesday morning included 63 hand crews, 23 helicopters, 141 engines, 49 dozers, and 29 water tenders for a total of 2,409 personnel.

The fire has burned very close to communities in Feather River Canyon, including Dixie, Tobin , Belden, Storrie, Rock Creek, and Rodgers Flat. There are reports that at least two structures have been destroyed, but CAL FIRE has not released any information on the topic since the fire started on July 14. Other towns north and northeast of the fire are Caribou, Twain, Paxton, Crescent Mills, and Greenville. Monday night Lake Almanor was about 9 miles northeast of the head of the fire.

Map of the Dixie Fire
Map of the Dixie Fire, showing the location at the end of the day on July 19, 2021. CAL FIRE.

The image below shows a sample of the aircraft that were working on the fire at 1:13 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021. The fire is at upper-right, and the Chico Airport, where some air tankers are reloading, is at lower-left.  Others not seen were flying south to reload at Sacramento McClellan Airport. Observed at this point in time were several helicopters, an MD87, a BAe-146, two S-2Ts, air attack aircraft, and two military C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems.

aircraft on the Dixie Fire
Some of the aircraft on the Dixie Fire at 1:13 p.m. PDT July 20, 2021. Flight Radar 24.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

15 thoughts on “Dixie Fire grows to nearly 60,000 acres in Northern California”

  1. we were there for the camp fire… can’t think anyone in Paradise is too happy to think the power company may have allowed this one to start as well.

    1. From what I read, this one was a live tree that fell against high voltage lines, not sure that counts as “allowed”. They do need to do a better job of hazard tree assessment and removal but they’ll never be able to get all of them unless we make powerline corridors hundreds of feet wide.

  2. As a Shingletown resident this makes my blood run cold. I was driving home from Chico this morning & watched this BLOW up in time it took me to go from I-5 in Red Bluff to Highway 44. My thoughts and Prayers for ALL Residents and First Responders. We here in ST are one bad day from being the next Camp, Carr or Dixie Fire. Be Safe…Always.

    1. I was taken by surprise at your name. Annie Bieber was my mom’s name and Anna Bieber was my aunt!

  3. I hope Cal Fire understands this fire should be all hands on deck before it wipes out communities like Paradise! Pg&e are responsible again !

  4. Pg&e will be sued by alot of people just for the stress we’re going through. I live in magalia and my wife and I are at our wits end because we can’t sleep because of the PTSD from the camp fire. I’m just hoping that cal fire contains this one quick.

  5. God be with the crews that are up there fighting these fires please help evacuate everyone good speed on all air attacks may they hit there Mark’s we are losing it in magalia as we were in the campfire please not another one

  6. (1) I don’t use this term freely, but the firefighters battling these climate change-fueled drought-fueled mega fires truly are heroes. We’re going to need a lot more of these strong, brave human beings.
    (2) Once again, PG&E’s prioritization of profits for its shareholders over proper maintenance of its equipment and the safety and environmental health of all in Northern California and surrounding areas has caused a massive fire that is creating its own dangerous weather and will add significantly to pollution levels already heading higher. Once again, it is clear that the state should take over PG&E. You’ll note that there are no or nearly no fires caused by the LA Dept of Water and Power or the city of Palo Alto, both of which have successful public power systems and happy customers who pay lower rates then do their neighbors for safer, cleaner energy. PG&E clearly has outlived whatever usefulness it may have had in the past. As a private entity it must be retired and put out of business.

    1. A very socialistic approach to a situation where public education is greatly needed. State, Federal and Environmental groups greatly affect what a utility is and isn’t allowed to do, a “catch 22” situation. No matter what entity is at the helm, it’s easy just to point a finger and place blame. “Cherry Picking” the low lying fruit for Municipalization, in the long term, does not best serve the greater public interest. Maybe we should mandate a 300’ clear cut for all utilities wherever overhead power lines are present. Yes, that was a joke.

  7. Can CalFire shoot these illegal drones out of the sky instead of scrubbing the aerial suppression?
    Seems to me a couple law enforcement shotguns would make quick work of these life threatening devices.

    1. Specific radio frequencies are utilized to control drones and their GPS systems. There are jammers of various qualities and capabilities available on the open market. I seem to recall that you can DIY a jammer using parts from a microwave oven. I wonder why we don’t hear anything about their possible/feasible use on wildfire interlopers. LR

  8. I live in Alabama our sky’s are clowdy with smoke. this goes all the way to New York!!!!!

  9. I think it’s all crap and the forest service along with pg@e are all useless. We need to manage our forests as we did in the 60’s. and 70’s by letting logging and cattle grazing back to thin the under stories and minimize these crazy fires. Along with suppressing fires when they do start. There is no common sense in this new era!!!

  10. Sending prayers out to all areas affected by the fires all over California and Oregon. I know this has to be especially hard for all those who were in and fought the Camp fire in Paridise my heart aches for everyone please be safe and if told to evaluate please do so your lives are worth more than your possessions. Please lord watch over everyone .

  11. Our family of 5 is supposed to be flying to Reno and driving to South Lake Tahoe tomorrow for a weeks vacation. Any recommendations or experience from the locals? Should we make the trek or postpone the visit until next May?

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