Dixie Fire Is Now Second Largest in California History
TAYLORSVILLE, Calif .– The Dixie fire that swept through northern California over the weekend became the second largest on record in the state.
Cal Fire, the national firefighting agency, reported Sunday that the blaze, which lasted for 25 days, had burned more than 463,000 acres. Counties of Butte, Lassen, Plumas and Tehama have been affected, including Lassen Volcanic National Park, known for its exotic hydrothermal sites. So far, no deaths have been reported and thousands of people have been evacuated.
“We are at the mercy of the winds,” said Dan Kearns, a volunteer firefighter in Taylorsville, Calif., Where those who had not evacuated had breakfast together Sunday morning as their supplies, gasoline and fuel. food was running out. He and other residents said they couldn’t leave their livestock, pets and land behind.
But everyone was aware of the dangerousness of the situation.
“It took two days to get into Greenville,” he said of the blaze that largely destroyed the city of 1,000 last week. “Now Greenville is gone.”
Terms & Conditions slightly improved in recent days. “We have favorable temperatures right now, relatively light winds, except at the top of the ridges,” said Mark Beveridge, a public information manager at Cal Fire. But firefighters still faced several challenges.
Heavy smoke settled directly over the eastern part of the fire, preventing planes from flying into these areas. Weather conditions before and during the fire, including a historic drought and strong winds, may have affected the flames.
“When you talk about a fire of this magnitude, in the area it is in, combined with the heat, the terrain is always a factor,” Beveridge said. “There are some very rugged and very steep hills in which we try to aggressively fight the fires. “
He said responders observed “erratic fire behavior”. Comparing the scale of the Dixie fire with that of the 2018 campfire, he said: “These fires are very difficult to control, they are very difficult to contain, and there are several factors behind them.”
The Dixie blaze is only overtaken by the August complex blaze, which began in August 2020 and burned more than a million acres, officials said. Most of the state’s 20 worst wildfires per hectare have occurred in the past two decades, according to Cal Fire.
The Dixie fire may have been started by a tree that fell on a power line owned by Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s largest utility.
Extreme weather conditions
Elizabeth Ehrenpreis spent her 33rd birthday fleeing the spread of the blaze to Westwood, Calif., A small town of less than 2,000 located near Lassen Volcanic National Park. She left the house before the official evacuation order, after seeing the local fire chief recommending on Facebook that people leave.
She headed for Susanville, where a shelter had been set up. She said she was among the first to arrive, but quickly noticed signs of fire coming this way too.
“Within half an hour the sky turned dark at night,” she said, even though it was mid-afternoon. “The winds have become super strong, terrifying. I just had this feeling – my body was like, get out of here now. “
She packed four cats and headed south to Sacramento, taking a detour because of blocked roads.
Many other residents stuck in their resolve to stay put, causing headaches for firefighters. It is difficult to predict how weather systems will affect the fires, but it is possible that strong winds will affect the area in the coming days.
Ms Ehrenpreis has always lived on the West Coast, she said, but has never witnessed a wildfire. She’s in Sacramento now, not knowing how long she will have to stay. “I’m just waiting here to see what happens,” she said.
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