Firefighters battling to keep the Dixie Fire from spreading east

It is closing in on half a million acres.

7:49 a.m. PDT August 10, 2021

Dixie Fire map
Dixie Fire map. The red line was the perimeter at 9:45 p.m. PDT Aug 9, 2021. The yellow areas represent intense heat. Not all of the fire was mapped due to the massive smoke plume up to 22,000 feet.

The Dixie Fire was burning so vigorously at 9:45 Monday night that the smoke plume which had risen to 22,000 feet made it impossible for the small fixed wing mapping plane to obtain good imagery on the northern section of the fire.

North of Highway 36, firefighters are attempting to prevent the north end of the fire from moving east across the A21/A25 Mooney Road. Dozer lines have been constructed to reinforce the road but spot fires have still occurred east of the lines. That is the section of the fire that could not be mapped Monday night.

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

CAL FIRE reported at 7 p.m. Monday that it had burned at least 482,000 acres. However, later fixed wing and satellite imagery indicates it was still growing into the night.

For the last two days the Dixie Fire has been working its way around the southwest tip of the 2020 Sheep Fire, 10 miles southwest of Susanville. On the south side of the Sheep Fire is the scar from the 2007 Moonlight Fire, where the diminished fuels have slowed the spread, but the north side has no recent fire history, resulting in greater fire activity on that side. Our map in an article from August 6 shows the footprint of the Moonlight Fire. The map at the top of this article shows a lighter color of vegetation where that fire burned 14 years ago.

The latest data from crews evaluating damage to infrastructure have found 873 destroyed structures. Maps are available showing the status of structures.

Smoke Monday morning was slow to dissipate, hampering the use of aircraft. In the afternoon wind from the southwest gusting to 20 mph thinned it out, and also increased the fire behavior.

The GOES 17 satellite image, below, shows that the fire was very active at 6:46 p.m. Monday. At that time it was just beginning to form pyrocumulus clouds which later grew, forming a line of condensation that reached to Nevada.

Satellite photo, smoke from fires in Oregon and Northern California
Satellite photo, smoke from fires in Oregon and Northern California at 6:46 p.m. PDT Aug 9, 2021.
Dixie Fire. Satellite photo
Dixie Fire. Satellite photo at 8:26 p.m. PDT Aug 9, showing pyrocumulus stretching to Nevada.

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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.

10 thoughts on “Firefighters battling to keep the Dixie Fire from spreading east”

  1. Why has there not been more written on what was done in the 1960’s on forest management ? My husband worked on the Cleveland National Descanso District . In winter months they cleared and sprayed for bark beetles, in an effort protect the forests and reduce fire spread.

  2. I have no way of knowing what long term strategies are being deployed, however with that said I do hope they are identifying those communities that could be in the path of this monster and setting up a very robust defense and I am very sure that they are indeed doing just that, it has and continues to be a long term planning event.
    There has to be in excess of 700 miles of perimeter and most of that has to be open line, several years ago I had a branch that was over 200k, it would take nearly all day to drive around this thing, and it was no way as active as this thing is, I can only imagine the challenges that they are facing day after day, I guess I am glad that I am retired and will not have to deal with these mega fires.
    It will take a true season ending event to lay this thing down, and I use season ending loosely, not sure what that will even look like.
    I wish them all Gods speed, there is nothing wrong with asking for the Almighty’s help, our FF’s are getting beyond tired and there is a very long ways to go yet….I will pray for all of them………Peace….

  3. 2011 Wallow fire (AZ) had 3 T1 teams and area command. Haven’t noticed AC activated this year.
    Smoke from Dixie must be horrendous…

    1. I was on the Wallow Fire when I arrived as Group Supervisor and it was 1400 acres in the wilderness and couldn’t touch the fire. When I left the fire was 500,000 acres and my Division lost 50 homes. I was and still sad to this day about the wilderness policy

    2. I was assigned to the Wallow Fire as A Division Supervisor. The fire was about 1400 acres in the wilderness when I arrived they told me they won’t touch it unless it comes out of the wilderness. So long sorry short I left after 21 days and the fire destroyed 50 homes in my division and was at 500,000 acres so much for the wilderness policy.

  4. In addition to that I would recommend adding a third zone with an IMT for Lassen Park and Caribou Wilderness ground . Cal Fire should stay in the WUI which is there forte, not wilderness where light hand on the land is required.

  5. Hi Bill,

    You recently have reported a video of an lighting strike which almost instantaneously ignited a tree into flames. And you reported how PGE admitted that tree fell against a power line which evidently ignited this tree into flames.

    A more common result of lighting striking a tree is that a big tree trunk has been blown apart without any evidence of extreme of any charing. Of which I have seen more than one. And I have seen the result of a lighting strike which travel down the eave spout into the basement cistern of our home and blew out an eight inch thick concrete wall which my parents only discovered the next morning when my father went down to the basement to ‘separate’ his morning’s milking.

    Just some observations for you and any readers to PONDER!!!

    Have a good day, Jerry


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