Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images
The Dixie fire in Northern California, which destroyed hundreds of buildings and entire communities, is now considered the second largest recorded fire in the state’s history.
The fire, which affects Butte, Plumas, Lassen and Tehama counties, has so far burned more than 463,000 hectares and 21% has been contained, according to CalFire.
In terms of burnt areas, Dixie Fire surpassed the fire in the 2018 Mendocino complex (459,123 hectares) and last year’s SCU Lightning Complex fire (396,624 hectares) according to CalFire. With a burning of over 1 million acres in 2020, the August complex fire is the only recorded fire in California that has engulfed more land than the Dixie fire.
First ignited around July 13, Dixie’s fire was burning in mostly remote areas. But the situation changed on Wednesday while winds quickly sent flames toward communities near Lake Almanor, a popular vacation spot surrounded by small towns.
In recent days, the fire has destroyed most of the communities of Greenville and Canyondam – and threatens nearly 14,000 buildings. CalFire said three firefighters were injured in the blaze fight, although no deaths were reported.
Although conditions have improved in the Sierra Mountains, Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns said on Saturday that the situation remains somewhat unpredictable.
“As with many fires, we saw unstable behavior with Dixie Fire,” Johns said he told reporters. “The weather has been cooperating for the last few days, but that could change – and we’re certainly not clear yet.”
Four people have been missing in Plumas County since Sunday morning.
Greenville fourth-generation resident Teresa Hatch was evacuated, returned home, and then was once again invited to leave.
“Where do you start from the beginning?” Hatch told ABC News through tears. “Look at all these people who are lost now. Where will they go?”
Climate research has shown that average temperatures are higher the fire season is extended and the number of places where a fire may occur. California Fire Department officials report more than a dozen active fires across the state, and more than 100 fires are burning in the western United States