California’s largest single wildfire on record continues its long trail of destruction in the northern part of the state, scorching an area more than twice the size of New York City. Nearly 900 homes have been destroyed since the Dixie Fire began in mid-July. A historic Gold Rush town in Greenville has mostly been destroyed.
Firefighters reported on Monday that the Dixie Fire has been about 25% contained. But blazing temperatures forecast for this week could further dry out the area and intensify the fires, they warn.
Thousands of Californians have been forced to flee their homes as more than 650,000 acres have burned throughout the state among five wildfires. The Dixie Fire, so far, has become the state’s second-largest overall fire in history. It has destroyed at least 893 homes and more than 16,000 structures, fire officials told USA Today. The Dixie Fire also is threatening 14,000 buildings in more than a dozen small mountain and rural communities in the northern Sierra Nevada, NBC News reports.
“We don’t know where this fire is going to end and where it’s going to land,” Chris Carlton, supervisor for Plumas National Forest, told NBC News. “It continues to challenge us.” The cause of the fire continues to be investigated.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in the northern counties of Shasta, Tehama, and Trinity.
About 100 large wildfires are burning across 15 states, mostly in the West, due to heat waves and drought conditions, USA Todayreports.
California’s wildfire season is on track to be the worst in its history, a record that had just been set last year.