This week marks the first week that the Dixie Fire is more than 85% contained and firefighters have been able to remove all of the warning and mandatory evacuation zones south of Lassen Volcanic National Park. While some areas have been able to repopulate already over the past few weeks, the removal of these warning zones offers reassurance that the fire is getting under control.
We went to help family get resettled, and surveyed the damage of the fire. This picture was taken from HWY-395 on Wednesday September 15, 2021 and shows two power poles that were burned during the incident. New poles are needed on both sides of the highway, and replacements are being put at the base for the next crew. The dry lake in the background is Honey Lake, and the picture was taken just outside of the town of Milford.
Here is one of the new poles installed on the other side of the highway. Most of the trees are badly burned but still standing. This will be a problem in all of the areas that firefighters were able to extinguish. There are also a few trees that are damaged/injured but still alive. We will have to see how many of those trees recover versus needing to be removed in the coming year.
The road was still under construction, or maybe I should say under construction once again. During the fire evacuations, road crews stopped work and only had the pilot car and flaggers working but were not able to work on the road. This picture also shows the forest which has significantly burned black trees with no branches/leaves, some dead but not significantly burned trees, and a few live green trees in good health.
Lake Almanor has receded considerably since the fire started. If you look closely, you can see two thick rings of cooled embers. This charred marking shows where the lake was when the fire started and a second ring that is thicker from when the fire was raging the most in close proximity. Thereafter the water receded quickly, but there were only two of the rings which can be compared to the current waterline to get an understanding of how much water has evaporated and been scooped up to help fight the Dixie Fire.
Here is a before/after comparison of a picture taken the day that we evacuated and the day that we returned. What a difference! The air quality is much better, although we did see some smoke coming from the Lassen Volcanic National Park as well as to the south. Firefighters are continuing to monitor these areas and make sure that the fire does not become uncontrolled again. Hot-spot teams are in place to keep everyone safe, and they are monitoring for smoke.
While I normally try to avoid reflections or sun spots, this was the first time in months that sun had been visible. With so much smoke covering this area for the past few months, I thought that this picture was just beautiful. This field was lucky to avoid being burned by the Dixie Fire. Thank you firefighters!
We are very happy that this fire is getting under control, and wish everyone effected by it well.