Wildfire, Smoke California Wildfires Update: July 14th 2021
Now so far the fire has burned 1200 acres and tonight an evacuation warning is now in effect for the polga and east kung cao areas, and so we have a lot to cover and we have live. Team coverage. Abc 10’s luke clary is in magalia talking to people in the evacuation zone. Meteorologist tracy humphrey is comparing wind conditions of this fire to the deadly campfire and brandon ritaman is investigating whether pg e power lines could be to blame for this latest fire. But we start tonight with monica coleman, who spent the day on the fire lines joining us live now from the nearby town of paradise, monica hey madison, driving into paradise. Today you could see the signs that read: paradise, strong and rebuilding paradise, but when you look into the sky you can see that smoke, proof that the dixie fire is not too far from home. For so many people driving north of highway 70 through oroville, you can see the smoke billowing over tree tops the dixie fire burning for almost 24 hours. People in town, like desmond david, survived the camp fire, but he lost his home now living in a trailer in the parking lot of yankee hill hardware with his dog killer, my property, i didn’t really care about. You know i do, but i don’t you know it was my dogs that i was more concerned about david says during the camp fire. He watched how quickly the flames changed direction, racing across fields taking out everything in its path.
David says he now stays cautious as the dixie fire travels back away from homes, because when the winds pick up, you can see all the trees that’s been burned. John gaddy, with cal fire says several people in the community are on edge due to the fire burning. In a remote area of plumas county so close to paradise, evacuation orders are in place to stop people from going into the area. I can be honest with you when i heard camp creek road yesterday on the dispatch. The hair on my neck stood up a little bit because we know the fire history in this area. Ground access has been the biggest challenge for firefighters, due to a lack of paved roads in this area, but look above behind me. These aircrafts are dropping gallons of water down below to fight this fire from above. But those access issues are a problem, so cal fire is working on improving roads, so we can get equipment in there and build control and containment lines on this fire. David says. Although fires continue to burn so close to home, he stays resilient a lot of good people. You know you don’t have to worry about who’s your neighbor Music. If you break down there’s, always somebody there to help you cal fire says: 250. Firefighters are on the ground. Right now fighting this fire. They plan to have 1 thousand firefighters on the ground and in the air by nightfall madison, all right, monica yeah, a huge fire fight right there in butte county.
We know so many people have been through so much up there. Monica thanks and now we want to check in with abc 10’s luke cleary, who spent the afternoon in the evacuation zone i’m here in the edge of town in magalia, where you can see the dixie fire burning off in the distance and i’ll. Tell you looking at that plume it’s an ominous sight, but of course this is happening in the shadow of the camp fire here. Just three years ago, it’s in the scarred landscapes the burnt tree trunks everywhere you look and local residents say that squatters have taken up camp on empty lots. Here we spoke to a homeless couple who say that they had no idea. There was an evacuation warning because they don’t have phones, it’s scary, because we have no way to find anything out. So all we have is our eyes and ears, and you know watching, and you know that’s all we have so that’s that’s. What it is you know and i’m, not leaving unless it comes over that hill. Now we also spoke with a couple who say that they were actually able to save their home during the camp fire three years ago and while they say they’re watching this fire they’re. Not that worried that it would make its way here. Although, if they did, they say they are prepared to try to protect their home once again, so many people on edge tonight and as you mentioned, this fire is burning very close to where the camp fire was and where that started.
The location where it started is very close to the same pg e power lines that sparked the fire three years ago, destroying the town of paradise and killing at least 85 people and here’s. The thing abc: 10 investigative reporter brandon ridman knows that area. Well, he spent a lot of time in that canyon. Looking at the power lines for his series, fire power money take a listen, so we all know that the camp fire burned down the town of paradise along with communities nearby, but the origin point where the campfire started back in 2018 is actually eight miles away from Paradise down in the feather river canyon, here’s, the origin point along highway 70 and for some perspective now, let’s show you where the dixie fire began today, it’s just less than a mile and a half away a little bit further up the canyon and what you see Right here, this line is actually a carved out space for pg e high tension lines that run through this area, the very lines that sparked the campfire in 2018.. These are what the industry calls transmission lines: they’re, big steel towers, with high tension lines running between them and in this canyon they carry massive amounts of electricity from hydroelectric dams, some of which were built by pg e others that were built by competitors. Pg e bought up way back in the day, including the power line that broke and sparked the campfire. Pg e allowed an original 98 year old metal hook to wear down until it broke in a windstorm dropping the power line that it was holding up.
Pg e has been all up and down this canyon since and says: it’s been fixing things as it goes want to show you the immediate concern that jumps off this map to me. We’Ve highlighted the campfire in a little bit of red here. But if you look close, you can see the campfire turned this land into moonscape, the trees all burned up, but over by the dixie fires. A bunch of leftover timber right on the edge of the campfire that’s, what we’re seeing burn today. I also want to give you some perspective on the dixie fire and just how close to power lines. This thing started. If we zoom in you can see cal fire put the origin point right here. These are pg e high tension lines. You can actually see a couple of towers, holding them up right there. This is why there are questions about pg e’s power lines today with this fire. One thing we’re thankful for is the wind today is nowhere near as bad as it was during the campfire. It took a big gust of wind to break that hook. Pg e neglected all those years, but there are plenty of other ways. These kind of power lines can spark a fire, not all of which involve wrongdoing by the utility company. For instance, fires have started when birds get zapped by these high voltage lines and fall to the ground. At this point, investigators are looking we’re going to have to wait to see what, if any role they think power lines may have played in this fire.
What we know right now is this: fire is moving more slowly than the campfire did, because there’s not as much wind, but make no mistake, still a big fire and it’s really hot hotter than it was in november 2018, which isn’t going to help all of it. Bringing back bad memories for the people in and around paradise, who three years later, are still struggling to rebuild. Oh brandon, thank you and although the dixie fire burning very close to where the campfire started, there are very big differences in these two fires. Meteorologist tracy humphrey explains how the terrain, winds and fuel all play a part in how these fires burn. While we are looking at the dixie fire that is really and the same proximity of where we had the campfire, so let’s talk a little bit about why wildfires happen and how about more importantly, what is the major difference between these two fires? Well, we got three elements, we have fuel, we have weather and we have topography. The fuel is pretty similar oak and woodland timber, the weather hot and dry, but for the campfire the winds were a major player and topography, a remote canyon, so here’s it here. It is the breakdown the dixie fire started, tuesday. At 5, 24. mid slopes started uphill down. Canyon, winds pushed that fire growth in the early morning hours the jarbo gap notorious for an early morning, wind shift now, initially, crews had to hike in that was yesterday, but with daylight they did get additional access points and they were able to use some air tankers.
Now let’s break down the campfire. Now the campfire did have a red flag warning because of the opportunity for very strong winds. It was late in the season in november and also something else. We had more than 200 days of no precipitation. So, for me, the biggest difference between these two fires is the winds, the wind speed, so the wind coming in with the dixie fire gusting around 15 to 20.. The winds coming in the campfire were gusting up to 70 miles per hour, embers were blown through the air. A couple hundred acres burned in just a few minutes also something else. The movement with that campfire was moving west to southwest towards populated areas like paradise, but with the dixie fire as of right now, it’s moving north to northeast away from populated areas. That is good perspective. Let’S get you over to meteorologist monica woods now for a closer look at conditions. I think it’s kind of scary when you put all that in perspective that it’s even cooler with humidity up as well. So, even though we have those conditions that aren’t necessarily primed for wildfire growth, it happens and winds right now coming in out of the southwest continuing to bring us near normal highs for this time of year, we’re up a little bit from yesterday for most of the Valley through that delta area, karkina streets that’s, just because we have slightly less wind, delivering that pacific air and a little bit cooler for the foothills and the sierra that didn’t necessarily see the bigger cooling effects over the past couple of days.
Temperatures at this hour still in the 80s for most of us a little bit warmer for marysville and rose and oroville in the mid 90s and we’re close to 90 for much of the foothills 80s up top for the sierra. So at least we’re still sitting with some pretty good temperatures and air quality really responding quite nicely with that breeze. Coming in mixing out a lot of the pollution that tends to build this time of year, clear skies for tonight southwest winds at about 10 miles per hour – sunset 8 30 sunrise at 5 54.