Dixie Fire explodes in size, forcing evacuations near Lake Almanor

The Dixie fire in Butte and Plumas county has exploded northward under red flag conditions, growing by more than 30 square miles, Cal Fire officials said

The mandatory evacuation order now includes the entire perimeter of Lake Almanor, a popular getaway area, and the town of Chester. 

"Steep terrain, heavy fuel loading, and wind in alignment with canyons" has made controlling the fire difficult, said firefighters. 

Low humidity and strong wind were also predicted with a Red Flag warning in effect on Wednesday afternoon. 

As of Wednesday, the Dixie fire has burned nearly 430 sq. miles or 274,139 acres and is 35% contained. The fire has destroyed 45 homes and businesses with more than 12,000 at risk of destruction. 

The fire started July 14 and is the largest in California this summer. The cause of the fire is under investigation, although PG&E has notified state monitors that its equipment possibly sparked the raging fire

More information, including details about evacuation orders, are available on Cal Fire's status report.