Dixie Fire: Firefighters tackle historic California wildfire

Firefighters are continuing to tackle a wildfire in northern California which has become the second largest in state history.

The Dixie Fire has already destroyed nearly all of the historic Gold Rush town of Greenville and authorities warn it could take weeks to contain.

There are currently 11 major wildfires burning in the state.

Rescue workers are bracing for higher temperatures of 38C (100F) in the coming days.

The Dixie Fire started on 13 July and has since ravaged more than 463,000 acres (187,369 hectares). Just 21% of the blaze is contained, according to officials.

It is second in size only to last year’s August Complex fire, which burned through more than 1m acres.

Three people are missing and thousands have been evacuated, some of those now residing in tents. About 39% of Pumas County is under an evacuation order.

After ravaging through Greenville last Wednesday, the fire is now threatening the small town of Crescent Mills, three miles (five kilometres) southeast of Greenville.

Authorities have warned that low moisture levels have made the area vulnerable to fast-spreading fires.

“We’re seeing fire activity that even veteran firefighters haven’t seen in their career,” Edwin Zuniga, a spokesman for Cal Fire told the Washington Post.

“So we’re just in really uncharted territory,” he said.

media captionVideo captures town decimated by wildfire
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are wildfires across 15 states in the country. There are about 107 large blazes that have burned through more than two million acres.

It warned of a “high potential for severe wildfire activity throughout the western United States through the rest of summer and into the fall”.

On Saturday, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom said that “we need to acknowledge just straight up these are climate-induced wildfires”.

Climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires.

The world has already warmed by about 1.2C since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.


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