Aug 202021
Fire crews and activity around Mill Creek a day and a half ago

The last two weeks have been rather nerve-wracking, as the enormous Dixie Fire has moved north and west towards my cabin in Mill Creek. When we got the evacuation warning, Jen and I headed up there, packed valuables and furniture, and brought it all home. This spurred a monumental burst of home and storage reorganization, but I digress…

X5, station wagon and trailer fully loaded

The fire grew relentlessly north towards Chester, twenty five miles east of us. Fire crews managed to protect the town, however the fire jumped Highway 36 and proceeded north into Lassen National Park, and west towards Highway 32. We watched as the burn expanded from 100,000 to 500,000 acres, generating pyro cumulus clouds big enough to cause lightening.

Dixie fire pyro cumulus clouds from Winters, CA, 150 miles away

A lightening storm struck Morgan summit about a week ago, less than four miles north of the cabin, and started a secondary fire that expanded toward the cabin.

Fire crews were able to hold fire lines at Highways 89 and 36, so the north flank never got less than two miles away, however winds out of the northeast pushed the main fire towards Mill Creek. Satellite maps show hot spots a quarter of a mile away from the cabins two days ago.

The video up above was recorded that night from Mill Creek. Fire crews from the San Jose Fire Department (and others) were in our community, while northeastern winds pushed the fire across the Mill Creek plateau, across the river and above us. The fire wrapped around the south side of the cabins, and we were burning on three sides. However, the crews up on the plateau have been able to keep the fire from entering the Mill Creek canyon, which is full of old growth timber and becomes inaccessible to the west of the community.

This morning, it appears that miracle has occurred — the wind is shifting around to the southwest, and pushing the fire back on itself. The activity and the heat have dropped dramatically, as shown in these four daily heat maps

August 17th, everything north of us is burning
August 18th, the fire is moving south towards us
August 19th, fire moves south and west on the plateau, just across the creek from the cabins
This morning, the wind shifts and the nearby fire is burning itself out

I think we’ve made it. I am endlessly grateful to the fire crews and all their hard work. And deeply grateful to all my friends and energy workers who have brought prayers, intentions and respectful relationship to all the elements in play here. The land, wind and fire spirits have blessed us, allowing our community to live on in this beautiful place, with our local forest of big trees, the creek and the fish, the deer and bear, squirrels and chipmunks, Stellar’s jays and crows.

Yet the fire burns on, and will take weeks (or months) to fully contain. As of today, it has grown to over 700,000 acres, destroyed 1225 structures, and is only 35% contained…after burning for 37 days. We aren’t even into the worst part of the fire season yet, rains are still two months away. The Lassen area is forever changed by it, at least, for my lifetime.