Q&A: Long-Range Spotting From Dixie Fire Reason For Evacuations Around Lake Almanor, Chester
At 10 a.m. residents of Almanor West Shore received an evacuation order from the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office due to the Dixie Fire. The order includes Canyon Dam, Prattville and Lake Almanor West. Those in Chester and the Lake Almanor Peninsula, including the greater Chester area, Hamilton Branch, Lake Almanor Peninsula, and East shore are currently under an evacuation warning.
NSPR’s Adia White recently spoke with Antonio Negrete, public information officer on the Dixie Fire, who explained that new evacuations were issued this morning after embers from the north part of the Dixie Fire started heading toward Lake Almanor.
On why the evacuations were issued
They were really traveling in excess of two to three miles and it was causing spot fires well ahead of where the crews were. That's why they issued the evacuation order.
View the map with the latest evacuation information HERE.
On why authorities say to leave even if you’re just under an evacuation warning
What we generally advise the public, even though it's still under just a warning, we feel that that is the best time for the public to leave. You can still leave early enough to avoid being caught in any fire, smoke that makes conditions tenuous or any road congestion. Don’t wait to be told by the authorities to leave because in an intense time and in an intense wildfire, they may not have time to knock on every door. So, if you're advised to leave, please don't hesitate.
On when the fire started spotting two to three miles ahead
I’m going to guess about an hour ago [10 a.m.] because shortly thereafter is when we received the notice of the order from the Sheriff’s Office. And we have to remember that up on that fire, the conditions are very tenuous. The winds are erratic and they could be blowing in one direction one second, and then five minutes later you'll have a wind change with a significant gust. And that kicks up from the items that are already burning. That kicks up embers and there's a significant ember cast that is thrown ahead of the fire.
On how seriously residents should take the evacuations
They should take them very serious … even though some of the areas may still be under a warning, we're advising people to still heed the warning while it's still early and advantageous. It’s one less thing that the emergency workers up in that area will have to worry about. They won't have to deal with traffic, they won't have to deal with smoke conditions, emergency vehicles moving all about. You know if the fire hits, at one point the sheriffs aren't going to have time to go do a door knock on every residence up there. So we're advising even though it's just a warning, for them to clear out.
On whether there’s concern the fire could flank Lake Almanor
Not at this time. It was just to be prudent and safe that the Sheriff of Plumas County made the decision to do the evacuations. It’s basically just for safety sake. Remember the fire is spotting two to three miles ahead, we don’t want it to land three miles away, something starts burning, you get another ember cast...three miles down the road and it continues that progressive march toward Lake Almanor. So that’s why they made the decision to clear people out.