QUINCY (CBS SF) – Dixie Fire, which was hit with a combination of “fuel, topography and weather”, has grown to more than 30,000 acres in a single day, while investigating a broken PG&E line and new evacuations in several rural communities while the progress of the fire in the rough terrain near the Bucks Lake desert area.
At a Cal Fire briefing on Sunday evening, the fire was on 18,702 acres. As of Monday morning, the burned area had reached 30,074 hectares.
Pacific Gas & Electric said a utility repairman on the power line on July 13 noticed that the system’s shutdown signaled that the Cresta dam on Highway 70 in the Kanar Valley had been lost.
“The question of the PG&E respondent observed from a distance how he thought the power supply was located at PG&E Bucks Creek 1101 12kV Circuit Distribution Overhead from the site,” the utility said in a report of an electrical incident with the California Public Utilities Commission.
“He was unable to reach the roof with the roof for about 1,640 hours due to road problems and road closures. There he observed two of the three guards burnt, and what appeared to be a healthy green tree resting on a 12-kV Bucks Creek 1101 conductor, which was still intact and hanging in the air.
“He also saw the fire on the ground near the base of the tree. Anxiously opened the third guard manually and reported the fire. His supervisor called 9-1-1 and the 9-1-1 operator replied that they were aware of the fire and were responding. The Cal Fire air support arrived at the scene about 1730 hours and began to fire and throw water. ”
On Saturday, Cal Fire investigators collected damaged PG&E equipment.
“PG&E is cooperating with the Cal Fire investigation,” the company said.
This was not the first time the utility had been investigated as a source of fire in the area. The state fire agency has determined that the 2018 fire was caused by a PG&E power line in the Pulga area.
At the briefing, Cal Fire Commander Tony Braunell said firefighters faced severe challenges in fighting the northeastern area of the massive fire.
“Today was a very active day of fire,” he said. “Three things actually affect a fire – the fuel, the topography and the weather. Today all three of them were affected when the fire became very active on both sides of the fire. ”
Brownell said crews were trying to create a “ignition spark” to keep the fire from moving north. Cal Fire is also aimed at preventing the flames from spreading to Konkovo and Magalia, two towns in Butte County that have been affected by a deadly fire in 2018.
Firefighters are using the Union Pacific Fire Brigade to protect the train tracks and keep the Dixie fire in the Plumas National Forest. California Fire says there is about 14% of the area, but there is limited access because it burned in a remote area. pic.twitter.com/ZGydRdBtW6
– CGTN America (@cgtnamerica) July 19, 2021
The fire was ignited by winds and fireplaces inside a huge cloud of pyroculum that rose thousands of feet above the fire.
“It was very active there, here you saw a column of smoke from the valley,” Braunell said, pointing to the eastern part of the fire on the map. “All that extraordinarily high air rises in the atmosphere … So, it went all the way to the Tobin River (above) from the Par River.”
Lights lit spot fires on dry brush and dead trees and accelerated the spread of the fire. The advanced fire forced the officials to close the 70th highway.
“It (the big fire column) is very popular, especially in recent years, because our fuel is drying up from the drought, destroying the lines, everything is acceptable. So if a spark falls on an unburned brush, it’s more likely to catch fire, ”Braunell said.
– Vanessa Wilson (@NessaBurdette) July 19, 2021
The fire affected 15 percent by Sunday night with 1,918 firefighters battling the blaze, which threatened 810 buildings.
New evacuation orders were issued Sunday night for the Johnsville and Philbrook areas of Butte County and the Highlands, homes along the Butte / Plumes line in eastern Twain County, Meadow Valley and Bucks Lake.
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2021/07/19/dixie-fire-firefighters-battle-raging-wildfire-bucks-lake-new-evacuations/ | PG&E, Cal fire damaged electrical equipment; Dixie’s fire nearly doubles in a day – CBS San Francisco