Dixie Fire Becomes Third-Largest In California History

August 7, 2021
Dozens of burned vehicles rest in heavy smoke during the Dixie fire in Greenville California 1

A huge wildfire tearing through northern California became the third-largest in the state’s history Friday, and looked set to continue growing.

A long-term drought that scientists say is driven by climate change has left the western United States parched — and vulnerable to explosive and highly destructive fires.

The Dixie Fire, which this week razed the Gold Rush town of Greenville, has torched more than 1,700 square kilometers (650 square miles) since it erupted in mid-July.

Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns, who is helping to coordinate the fight against the fire, said the destruction was devastating.

“I am a lifelong resident of Greenville. My heart is crushed by what has occurred there,” he told a briefing on Thursday.

“To the folks that have lost residences and businesses… their life is now forever changed.

“All I can tell you is: I’m sorry.”

The town of Greenville stood charred and in ruins Friday, with timber structures gone completely and some stone buildings reduced to rubble.

Johns said there were no injuries so far from the huge blaze, but stressed it was vital that people in the path of the fire heed evacuation warnings.

“This fire is not over. If that plume is anywhere near your direction… you need to prepare. Wherever the wind blows this fire, that’s where it’s going to go.”

Regina Rutledge, who fled the town of Chester as the flames bore down, said the experience had been “very intense.”

“You could see the red coming off the hills, the blows of the fire. It’s a monster, it truly is,” she told AFP.

Dozens of burned vehicles rest in heavy smoke during the Dixie fire in Greenville California 2
Evacuated Chester resident April Phillips wipes her face while watching a family dog at an evacuation center for the Dixie fire at Lassen Community College in Susanville, California on August 6, 2021. – Phillips and her family have been living in their cars and were told that it will be at least 10 days before they can return home.

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