Hollister firefighters move to fight Dixie blaze

A team of five will be on the front line 14 days in Butte and Plumas counties to help personnel from throughout the state fight the largest fire currently in California.

Four Hollister firefighters and three engines have joined the frontlines of the Dixie Fire near Chico with plans to stay two weeks, Hollister’s interim fire chief said.

Battalion Chief Phil Rossi was called July 26 to the Dixie Fire from the Tamarack Fire in Alpine County and he will lead a five-person strike team from the Monterey area, interim Chief Carlos Bedolla said. Other Hollister personnel include Capt. Josh Buzzetta, engineer Cortney Young, and firefighter Joubert Ballard. 

The Dixie Fire is burning 369 miles from Hollister in Butte and Plumas counties above the Cresta Dam and Feather River Canyon. As of July 29, the Dixie Fire was 23% contained with 221,504 acres burned, according to Cal Fire. The fire had destroyed 64 structures but caused no deaths or injuries.

Bedolla said he has not received any updates from the firefighters since they left last week. “They’re busy and I don’t want to bother them,” he said.

After the crew’s 14 days, replacements would reach the Dixie area to take over.

More than 5,900 firefighters from throughout the state and as far away as Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and South Dakota, are battling the Dixie Fire that started July 14. It merged over last weekend with another nearby blaze, the Fly Fire, according to Cal Fire.

“Crews are continuing to aggressively attack the fire and reinforce containment lines,” Cal Fire’s website states. “Dozers and heavy equipment continue to construct contingency lines. Damage assessments are ongoing with limited access to some areas due to fire activity.”

For evacuation information, call the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, (833) 512-5378.


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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]