People who failed to evacuate slowed fire suppression in Greenville

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 12:29 AM PDT
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GREENVILLE, Calif. (KOLO) - Fire suppression leaders battling the Dixie Fire in Plumas and Butte Counties are asking the public to “cooperate and evacuate” at a moments notice when asked to leave their homes as there is no clear ending to the massive Dixie Fire burning about 85 miles northwest of Reno.

Many people are asking why fire crews failed to stop the flames from destroying the community of Greenville, California where many of the more than 100 structures lost so far once stood.

“When that fire hit from two different angles in Greenville our firefighters and our law enforcement risked their own lives to save those civilians that did not evacuate and that’s a true story they were literally taking those folks in the community that decided not to leave, putting them in vehicles, taking them to meadows and it was an incredible effort taking away from their fire suppression efforts,” said Incident Commander, Rocky Oplinger.

“Did we put everything we could at it? The answer is yes,” said Plumas National Forest Supervisor, Chris Carlton.

Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns also took a moment to reflect on the losses so far.

“My heart is crushed by what has occurred there and to the folks that have lost residences and businesses. I’ve met some of them already. Their lives are now forever changed and all I can say is I’m sorry,” Sheriff Johns said.

“We’re seeing truly frightening fire behavior,” said Carlton.

Firefighters with 30 years of experience say they’ve never seen conditions like these.

The Dixie Fire has prompted 31,000 people to evacuate their homes.

Of the 82 wildfires burning in the United States at the time this report was published, the Dixie Fire is priority number one in the Nation with 25 percent of the Country’s resources battling this blaze including 22 helicopters.

At moments they were useless when the fire destroyed Greenville because winds picked up to over 30-miles-per-hour on Wednesday, August 4.

The Dixie Fire is now the 6th largest fire in California history.

The fire is large enough for satellite images to record the flames and smoke from space.

As of Thursday, August 5 it has burned more than 361,813 acres and destroyed over 100 homes as more than 5,222 people work to stop the flames.

”I’m asking for a Presidential declaration of emergency so I can start getting assistance to folks as quickly as possible to folks that have been evacuated or have lost their residences,” Sheriff Johns said.

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