The Fawn Fire, which was believed to be started by an arsonist last week in Shasta County, has reached 90% containment and evacuation orders in the area have been lifted. Meanwhile the massive Dixie Fire, already burning for two and a half months, stands at 94% containment (same as a week ago), and firefighters say that full containment won't be reached until October 30.
Northern California's fire season will hopefully taper off and end in the coming weeks, but it is still far from over. And the Dixie Fire remains the second-largest fire in recorded state history, second only to last year's August Complex fires, and has now burned 963,309 acres and led to one fatality. The fire, which was sparked on July 13 by PG&E equipment not far from the ignition point of the 2018 Camp Fire, has destroyed over 1,300 structures, many of them in the Gold Rush-era town of Greenville in the first week of August. It has now burned parts of five counties.
The Chronicle has a data-rich piece today about the trajectory of the massive blaze, showing how it exploded in phases — at one point growing by 110,000 acres in 24 hours, around the time that Greenville burned. And on September 9 and 10, driven by winds, the fire grew by 30,000 extra acres.
Since mid-September, the Dixie Fire's growth has largely leveled off as containment lines have grown. But it's still going to be another month before 100% containment, Cal Fire says.
The Caldor Fire, which is no longer threatening the Lake Tahoe Basin but continues smoldering westward near the Amador County border and north of the town of Kirkwood, has burned 221,775 acres and is 91% contained.
The much smaller Fawn Fire, near Shasta Lake City, has burned 8,578 acres and is now 90% contained. It has destroyed 185 structures and led to three injuries. Fire crews fighting the fire describe a "rollercoaster" of week with winds and weather, but the fire has largely stayed within containment lines in recent days.
30-year-old Alexandra Souverneva of Palo Alto has been charged with starting the fire on September 22 while she was allegedly attempting to boil creek water for drinking — and authorities believe she may have sparked another fire in the area just one night prior that was quickly extinguished.
Meanwhile, fires continue to actively burn in the southern Sierra, threatening and in some cases already killing giant sequoia trees there.
The KNP Complex fires burning into Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, northeast of Visalia, have reached 51,600 acres as of Friday, and the complex is only 20% contained. The National Park Service says that containment lines around the Giant Forest Grove, which is home to the General Sherman sequoia tree and several other well known, enormous, ancient trees, continue to be strengthened, and firefighters remain in the area putting out spot fires.
The KNP Complex continues burning to the north and south, and on the northwest flank of the fire, new evacuation orders were issued Thursday for the communities of Eshom and Hartland Camp.
South of that complex, the Windy Fire has burned 89,800 acres in the area of the Tule River Indian Reservation, as well as in Sequoia National Forest and the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
The fire is now 40% contained, and it has destroyed 14 homes and threatens 2,000 more. The fire has also killed at least 29 giant sequoia trees, and continues threatening thousands more. The National Park Service says the fire's perimeter increased 1,736 acres in just the last 24 hours.
Top image: Fire consumes forests in the Pine Flat area as the Windy Fire continues tp spread on September 27, 2021 south of California Hot Springs, California. The wildfire has burned through numerous groves of giant sequoia trees and is now threatening small communities scattered throughout the Southern Sierra foothills in Sequoia National Forest, south of Sequoia National Park and Giant Sequoia National Monument. The lightning-caused fire has expanded to more than 82,000 acres and is two percent contained. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)