The massive wildfire that ravaged northern California on Friday became the third largest in modern California history, and its expansion could continue.
Prolonged drought, which scientists believe is linked to climate change, has made the western United States particularly vulnerable to these highly destructive fires.
The Dixie Fire, which devastated the small town of Greenville this week, has consumed more than 170,000 hectares since it broke out in mid-July.
“People who have lost their homes and businesses… their lives will never be the same,” Plumas County Sheriff Todd Jones, who is helping to coordinate efforts against it, said at a news conference. Fire and lived in Greenville “for life”.
“My heart is saddened by what happened” in this city of 800 people, he said. “All I can tell you is that I’m sorry.”
Grenfell, scorched, showed only ruins on Friday. All the wooden structures were reduced to ashes and some stone buildings were reduced to rubble.
If no one has been hurt by the fire yet, Todd Jones said, it is imperative that locals en route respond to evacuation directives.
“This fire isn’t over yet. If that plume of smoke is headed your way even just a little bit, you need to get ready. Wherever the wind is blowing, that’s where it (the fire) will go.”
More than 5,000 firefighters battled the massive blaze in which massive flows of smoke could be seen from space.
On Friday, authorities said they expected winds to fuel the fire.
These storms, combined with difficult terrain and very abundant dry vegetation, made the efforts of the firefighters even more difficult.
The Dixie Fire expanded overnight to cover 174,000 hectares, an area larger than the Bootleg Fire, decimating Oregon in the north.
The flames have grown to such an extent that they generate their own microclimate.
Wildfires are common in California, but due to climate change they are increasingly destructive.
At the end of July, the fires had already destroyed two and a half times more vegetation than in the same period in 2020, the worst year in California’s history for fires.
The Dixie Fire is painfully reminiscent of 2018, the most dangerous California fire in recent years.
A fault in the power lines that ran through the northern town of Paradise set off the fire, killing 86 people.
Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest energy company, has pleaded guilty.
PG&E equipment has come into question again for the Dixie Fire, after a tree fell on a power cable the day the fire started.
The company announced at the end of July that it would bury 16,000 kilometers of electrical cable to prevent its equipment from causing new devastating fires.
Greenville itself is used in fires. It had already been wiped out in 1881, and several fires had threatened its residents over the past century and a half.
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”