Firefighters get help from weather in battling Northern California blazes

GREENVILLE, CA - AUGUST 08, 2021: Horses graze in a field off of North Valley Road in Greenville as the Dixie Fire continues to burn near the town. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Horses graze in a field in Greenville, Calif., as the Dixie fire continues to burn near the town. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Firefighters continued to make headway Sunday against two massive Northern California wildfires, officials said, as winds remained light and temperatures hovered only slightly above normal.

“We are making good progress," said Marco Rodriguez, public information officer with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "We still have a few things to take care of, but overall, the fire hasn’t grown and we are getting hold of it. Things are looking good.”

Rodriguez said the Caldor fire, to which he is assigned, was 65% contained as of Sunday morning, up from 60% on Saturday. The fire has consumed 218,950 acres and destroyed 1,003 structures but grew by only 461 acres overnight.

On Sunday, increasing numbers of residents were being allowed back into evacuation zones to assess damage to their homes, Rodriguez said. More than 10,000 people have been displaced by wildfires in the region, officials said.

About 100 miles to the northwest of the Caldor fire, the Dixie fire north of Sacramento was also 65% contained as of Sunday morning, up from 62% a day earlier.

The fire grew by 960 acres since Saturday and has scorched 960,213 acres and destroyed 1,329 structures since it started July 13 near a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power station in Feather River Canyon. The utility has said it might have been sparked by a tree falling into a power line.

The National Weather Service predicts calm conditions and temperatures slightly above normal for the next few days for both fire zones, with the possibility of a stronger system moving in by the weekend.

Light winds from the north and east are expected to lower humidity levels, but otherwise “they don’t look like much of a concern,” said Cory Mueller, a meteorologist with the weather service in Sacramento. No rain or lightning, which had sparked at least eight new starts in the area of the Caldor fire, are in the forecast.

“It’ll be a pretty quiet week, fire weather-wise, which will be pretty welcome,” Mueller said.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.