Dixie Fire continues its rage after nearly a month it started in a fire canyon, becoming the largest burning in the country and the third among the most huge fires recorded in California.
Its flames devoured Butte, Lassen, Plumas, and Tehama, covering 679 square miles — even bigger than the city of Los Angeles.
The fire continued its blaze on Thursday after it razed through the Sierra Nevada town of Greenville. Its damage in Canyon Dam, a small community, already reached 110, 000 acres.
“There have been times during the fire when pretty much every time that an ember would spot and land in grass, it was almost guaranteed to ignite and start another spot fire,” Rick Carhart, public information officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said.
On Friday, firefighters moved to save the Lake Almanor homes from the fire, which already reached the western shore.
While Dixie Fire has not taken any lives, some residents worry authorities as they took risks. Evacuation orders were issued by law enforcement to shield thousands of lives but residents refuse to follow.
In the last 72 hours, Plumas County supervisor Greg Hagwood said the Dixie Fire has devoured and posed a threat against small mountain communities like Greenville. Evacuation is a hard thing to do as in some cases, armed residents stopped law enforcers who want to bring them to safety.
“They are met with people who have guns and (are) saying, ‘Get off my property and you are not telling me to leave,’” Hagwood said.
He said that the deputies opt to ask for information from families of those who refuse to be evacuated if they lost their lives or survived the fire.
Authorities have transformed a high school baseball field as a temporary refuge area on Wednesday for the evacuees. Officials said some firefighters have helped people reach the refuge area.
“Then the fire can advance in areas where we might have otherwise been able to stop it, and the lives of the firefighters and the residents that they are moving to protect are put at increased risk,” Capt. Mitch Matlow, public information officer on the Dixie Fire, said.
Among the residents who refused to evacuate was Don Guess of Crescent Mills. He said it was the third time he was asked to evacuate and had grown tired of it, as reported by SFGate.
He went to his father’s residence near Lake Almanor on his first evacuation but again, was asked to leave from there.
He stayed this time at his home, saying he needs to power his generator with gas for the sprinklers to function.
But he planned to go to his wife in Quincy on Friday after firefighters assured him that they will have his home protected from the fire.
“It’s crazy,” Guess said. “I’m going to leave after I get something to eat.”