A wildfire that expanded rapidly on Wednesday is burning very near the burn scar of the 2018 Camp Fire, just east of the origin point of that fire, but so far is not threatening any homes.
This fire is dubbed the Dixie Fire because it broke out Tuesday at Dixie Road and Camp Creek Road in Butte County — with the latter road being the namesake of the Camp Fire. The fire grew to 60 acres overnight on Tuesday and then exploded to 1,100 acres on Wednesday. Cal Fire now says the fire has burned 2,250 acres and is 0% contained.
As Bay Area News Group explains, around 10,000 people in Plumas County lost power Wednesday until around 2 p.m., with PG&E blaming smoke from the Dixie Fire. The former Caribou-Palermo transmission line that sparked the Camp Fire is no longer energized, but a PG&E spokesperson confirmed that several other power lines run through the area, which is near Feather Canyon, east of Pulga.
It remains unclear what sparked the fire, and PG&E has not filed any report with the California Public Utilities Commission to suggest that they had any equipment issues in the area at the time of the fire.
Around 350 firefighting personnel were reportedly on the scene Wednesday, battling the blaze in steep and often inaccessible terrain. Evacuation warnings for Pulga and East Concow went out Wednesday from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, however fire officials say the fire is burning north toward Plumas County and away from more populated areas. (See map here.)
At least one Union Pacific Railroad crew is fighting the blaze via train.
John Gaddie, fire captain with the Cal Fire Butte Unit, tells Bay Area News Group that the crews' main priority is building containment along the western flank of the fire, to prevent it from spreading to more populated areas — and back toward Paradise. So far, winds seem to be cooperating.
The Camp Fire three years ago virtually leveled the town of Paradise, killing 85 people and destroying thousands of homes, many of which are not yet rebuilt.
Charles Brooks, one Paradise resident who has only been back in his rebuilt home for thee months, tells the Chronicle, "I’m not going to lie, as resilient as our community is, for those of us who have stayed, seeing a column of smoke is unnerving."
The #DixieFire has all the ingredients for a very large fire. Long range spotting will limit the effectiveness of aircraft, normal daily winds will push it all over the place. pic.twitter.com/p6jKUctRE5— Zeke Lunder (@wildland_zko) July 14, 2021
Many of the firefighters now on this fire just moved over from the Beckwourth Complex blaze in Lassen and Plumas counties. That fire, a combination of the Dotta and Sugar fires, has been burning for two weeks and has scorched almost 100,000 acres as of this morning. It is now 68% contained — downgraded from 71% containment on Wednesday.