The Dixie Fire, the largest wildfire of the 2021 season, is approaching a complete containment. The fire is currently 94 percent contained as of Friday.
The fire began July 13 in the Feather River Canyon near the Cresta Powerhouse. Cal Fire now estimates a complete containment will be reached by Sept. 30.
The fire has burned 963,276 total acres since beginning, destroying the communities of Greenville on Aug. 4 and Canyondam on Aug. 5. According to Cal Fire, a total of 1,329 structures have been destroyed. Additionally, one firefighter has died and three have been injured since the fire began.
Cal Fire Butte County Public Information Officer Rick Carhart said Friday that despite the difficulty faced early on by crews, great progress has been made.
“As of today in Butte County we are finishing up all of our fire suppression repair efforts that we had done in the Butte part of the fire. That’s all finishing up today,” Carhart said. “We are letting a bunch of our hired equipment go — they finished their work for us and we’re getting them out of here.”
The fire at one time spanned five counties (Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Tehama and Shasta). Now activity is confined to Lassen County.
“For the fire itself, there are now no more evacuations, either warnings or orders, anywhere on the fire. That takes the number of threatened structures down to zero,” Carhart said. “It’s still not 100 percent contained. We still have hundreds of people working though.”
As of Friday, 1,924 personal were assigned to working on the Dixie Fire. Carhart said the majority of remaining crew members have been assigned to mopping up and fire suppression repair and the work will continue until it’s completed.
“They’ve been seeing very limited fire activity throughout the fire perimeter the last few days so they’re well into their mop up stages and fire suppression repair,” Carhart said. “As we go in and do things to fight the fire, things like taking dozers in, we will basically mess up roads and things like that and so we go back in and essentially fix the things that we had to mess up while we were fighting the fire.”
With crews continuing work inside the fire perimeter, other crews continue searching for any hot spots to suppress that may have a chance of causing fire activity. Carhart said crews specifically monitor unburned areas inside the perimeter called “islands” in case anything sparks.
“It is possible to get a heavy wind or conditions are right — just because the fire has burned almost a million acres of the fire perimeter, it doesn’t mean that everything inside of that perimeter is burned up,” Carhart said. “What you can possibly have is an ignition of some fuels inside of the fire perimeter and it gets burning enough to send spot fires out beyond the fire perimeter. We’re pretty comfortable with where we are and think that’s not going to happen but we’re still in there making sure that we’re taking care of those unburned islands inside the perimeter of the fire.”
With all evacuation orders and warnings now lifted, Carhart said it’s incredibly important for people to remain careful when returning home, especially in areas that experienced fire activity or near tree stumps that could still have active fire underground.
For more information on the Dixie Fire visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7690.