Dixie wildfire becomes the largest in California history, torching 482,000 acres and forcing thousands to evacuate
The Dixie Fire in Northern California has become the largest wildfire in the state’s history.
The fire has torn through more than 487,00 acres in Butte, Plumas, Tehama, and Lassen counties and has been ongoing for more than 27 days.
Close to 6,000 personnel have been assigned to fight off the devastating fire, but only a 25percent of the blaze has been contained, officials have said.
At least 893 structures have been damaged, and 12,000 people have been evacuated. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported.
Dixie might have originated when a tree fell on one of the power lines of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company on July 13. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were called to put out the initially small fire but poor roads and an unauthorized drone prevented the department from successfully mitigating the fire before darkness fell.
On July 22, Dixie merged with the Fly Fire, while firefighters battled inclement weather conditions. Four firefighters were hurt when they were struck by a fallen branch.
Firefighters have had to deal with people reluctant to leave – some of whom pulled guns on them – even as the wildfire continues to spread. Their refusals meant that firefighters spent precious time loading people into cars to ferry them out, said Jake Cagle, an incident management operations section chief.
‘We have firefighters that are getting guns pulled out on them because people don’t want to evacuate,’ he said.
The Dixie Fire progressed through July and was briefly contained before major wind exacerbated the blaze.
The Pacific Gas & Electric Company was ordered to provide details on the circumstances around the fire to a federal judge by August 16.
More land has burned in the Dixie Fire than in the Creek Fire, in which 379,895 acres had scorched by the time it was 100% contained on Christmas Eve.
At least 163 water tenders have been employed in attempts to contain Dixie, but the unforgiving blaze has incinerated 75percent of the structures in the town of Greenville.
The fire, fueled by bone-dry vegetation and 40 mph gusts, raged through the community of Greenville, leveling most of its historic downtown and leaving blocks of homes in ashes.