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Sonoma County strike teams deployed to fight major California wildfires

Dozens of Sonoma County firefighters are responding to major wildfires burning to the north, including the Dixie fire in Butte and Plumas counties and the Tamarack fire near Lake Tahoe.

More than 50 firefighters left here this week and headed for the Dixie fire, which had grown to more than 85,000 acres by early Wednesday.

The firefighters formed three strike teams with five engines each. Those included engines from the Dry Creek Rancheria, Lakeville, Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Sebastopol fire departments and the Cloverdale, Sonoma County and Sonoma Valley fire districts.

The Dixie fire was 15% contained on Wednesday, Cal Fire said. The blaze started July 14 in the Feather River Canyon near Paradise, the town that was largely reduced to ashes in 2018 by the Camp fire — the deadliest wildfire in state history.

The cause of the Dixie blaze is unknown. It is burning in a remote area, but has forced evacuations in Jonesville, Philbrook and other Butte County neighborhoods. Firefighters worked overnight to stop the blaze from burning homes.

Fire officials said the blaze was likely to continue spreading northeast through Wednesday, with the potential for 2 to 3 miles of new growth.

Another Sonoma County strike team left Monday to help contain the Tamarack fire south of Lake Tahoe. The five engines came from the Gold Ridge, Monte Rio, Rancho Adobe and Sonoma Valley fire districts and the Healdsburg Fire Department.

The Tamarack fire had burned more than 39,000 acres by early Wednesday. It started by lightning and was first reported July 4 in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit also sent six strike teams out to battle blazes around the state, the agency said.

You can reach Staff Writer Matt Pera at matthew.pera@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @Matt__Pera.

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