GREENVILLE, Plumas County (CBS SF) — Firefighters working the massive Dixie Fire burning in several Northern California counties are having to deal with another challenge: residents who refuse to evacuate and are brandishing guns at fire crews.

Flames from the Dixie Fire advanced into the town of Greenville, burning an estimated 75% of homes and businesses in the historic Gold Rush-era town of about 1,000 residents.

Fire crews have encountered property owners who were refusing to leave their homes as the flames approached and threatening firefighters with weapons. California Incident Management operations section chief Jake Cagle made the stunning revelation at the end of the Thursday morning news briefing.

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“[Wednesday] was a very tough day for all of us,” Cagle said of the firefight around Greenville. “There is stuff out there that we didn’t want to see. Again, talking about the people out there dealing with evacuations. We are all challenged. Law enforcement’s challenged. We have firefighters getting guns pulled out on them because people don’t want to evacuate. That’s just the duality. That’s what it is. Not trying to place the blame on the landowners. We understand, our hearts go out to them.”

DIXIE FIRE: 

Cagle said when residents ignore evacuation orders, it makes it more difficult for crews to contain the fires since they are diverted into transporting people in fire vehicles to safety.

“The impacts, the devastation we understand. That’s why we are here, we are trying to do the best we can. That is our sole intention. But again it comes down to life threat, and that’s what we need to manage.”

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