California‘s largest blaze, the Dixie Fire, has now burned nearly a quarter-million acres as firefighters race to keep the flames from reaching northeast to the town of Paradise, which burned in 2018 wildfires, killing 85 people.
At least 16,500 people have had to flee their homes recently as yet another massive wildfire continues to grow. The evacuations are becoming an unwelcome routine in a region still recovering from the 2018 Camp Fire, which left 85 people in Paradise dead and is recorded as the deadliest wildfire in the Golden State’s history.
The Dixie Fire was burning nearly 241,000 acres, or about 375 square miles, Saturday morning and was 24 per cent contained, according to the state’s wildfire agency. It has destroyed at least 42 homes and threatens more than 10,000 others.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued several weeks ago in Butte County, California, as the Dixie Fire continued to grow explosively eastward.
The fire has become California’s largest so far this year, but has stayed within a perimeter the fire crew has built.
California’s largest blaze, the Dixie Fire, has now burned nearly a quarter-million acres, stretching into Meadow Valley as firefighters race to keep the flames from reaching the northeast of the town of Paradise, which burned in fires in 2018, killing 85 people. Pictured: The US Forest Service performs a prescribed burn using incendiary balls dropped from a helicopter in Meadow Valley
Dixie Fire continues its destruction in Northern California as it burns the trees near Taylorsville, California on July 29
Meadow Valley Fire Department’s vehicle works to maintain the Dixie Fire, 18 days into the destruction
The US Forest Service performs a prescribed burn using incendiary balls dropped from a helicopter in Meadow Valley on July 31
The Dixie Fire continues to burn near Taylorsville, California on July 29
The Dixie Fire began on July 13, and is currently California’s largest active fire (pictured July 29)
Fire crews have been able to contain only 24 percent of the flames as the fire burns in Northern California (pictured July 29)
16,500 people have been evacuated from their homes recently as yet another massive wildfire continues to grow in the west
Firefighters have had success holding the flames back from Paradise as the town struggles to recover from the 2018 destruction. Most of the flames consuming fields of dried vegetation continued to stay within the lines created by fire crews to contain the blaze.
‘There’s nothing close to our line right now. It’s all interior fuels burning,’ Mike Wink, an incident commander, said in an online briefing.
Last week, the Dixie Fire fused with the nearby Fly Fire and leveled dozens of houses and other buildings through the small community of Indian Falls in Plumas County.
Officials believe that smoke columns created by the blaze could spawn lightning storms capable of igniting more blazes, similar to the Bootleg Fire, which has consumed more than 480,000 acres in Oregon.
Residents in nearby communities, like Twain, are either evacuating or staying in their homes in hopes of riding out the approaching blaze.
The Dixie Fire has burned nearly 241,000 acres, or about 375 square miles in nearly three weeks
A hotshot crew member from Redding looks on during work with the LAFD strike team on the Dixie Fire on July 29
The sun is seen through smoke as the US Forest Service performs a prescribed burn using incendiary balls dropped from a helicopter in Meadow Valley on July 31
A Redding hotshot crew member works alongside the LAFD strike team (not pictured) on the Dixie Fire on July 29
Firefighters have successfully held the flames back from Paradise as the town struggles to recover from the 2018 destruction
A view of the Meadow Valley Fire Department’s vehicle as the US Forest Service performs a prescribed burn on July 31
Pacific Gas and Electric Company told regulators this month that its equipment may have been responsible for sparking the flames. They were also responsible for the Camp Fire blaze that destroyed Paradise, 25 miles southeast from the current fire.
A preliminary investigation found that the Dixie Fire broke out after a tree fell on one of the thousands of power lines that dot the state’s landscape. The cause of the Dixie Fire still remains under investigation.
The company filed an incident report on July 18. It recorded the account of an employee who claims they observed blown fuses in terrain off Highway 70 and ‘a fire on the ground near the base of the tree,’ which he then reported to his supervisor, who then called 911.
In the July 28 court filing, PG&E said it was ‘continuing to investigate the role of its equipment’ in the Dixie Fire, according to The New York Times.
On Friday, 80 large fires were burning across the country destroying 1.7 million acres across 13 states
Smoke billows as the US Forest Service performs a prescribed burn using incendiary balls dropped from a helicopter in Meadow Valley on July 31
A handmade sign is posted on the lawn of a home in Quincy, for the firefighters of the Dixie Fire
On Friday, President Biden met virtually with governors from seven Western states as 80 large fires were burning across the country destroying 1.7 million acres across 13 states.
The West has continued to battle with increasingly more severe wildfires in recent years as climate change leads to a hotter and drier landscape.
They discussed how the federal government could help states with prevention, preparedness and emergency response efforts. Fire officials said that the fires have been burning earlier and more destructively than usual because of drought conditions and record heat across the region.
Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.