Greenville, California (AP) —People living in scenic woodlands in northern California find themselves facing weekend horror as wildfires can ash thousands of homes. ..
A Dixie fire that burned much of the Gold Rush town of Green Building threatened more than 10,000 buildings in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. It swallowed an area larger than the size of New York City.
According to the Department of State’s Department of Fire and Forestry Conservation, this was the largest current wilderness flame in the United States and the third largest recorded California history.
Wind flames destroyed dozens of homes and most of downtown Greenville on Wednesday and Thursday, and also devastated Canyon Dam, a settlement with a population of about three dozen. The fire reached Chester, but officials said the crew was able to protect their homes and businesses there.
Shirley Maze kept Chester’s gas station as open as possible and told tired firefighters not to apologize for the ash marks left on the floor. But when a small town on the northwestern shore of Lake Armana lost power, Maze decided it was time for her to leave.
She went home and got a box of valuables such as her husband’s class ring and jewelry. The smoke was so thick that it was hard to breathe. When the ash lump hit the ground, it fell apart and made a sound like a piece of glass.
That was two days ago. Since then, Maze has lived in the parking lot of Lassen College in Susanville. Her husband stayed behind to maintain some of the water tanks used by the firefighters. It’s her, the Miniature Pinscher Chihuahua named Jedidiah, and the Pitbull named Bear.
Her house was still standing on Friday, but her destiny was tied in the direction of the wind. She wasn’t alone.
“There are probably 30 patrons here,” she said.
Named after the road where it began, the Dixie Fire now covers an area of 679 square miles (1,760 square kilometers), containing only 21%. No injuries or deaths have been reported.
The weather at the fire site was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (Celsius), rather than the humid, mild winds of Saturday, the 40 mph (64 kph) gust recorded at the beginning of the week and the three-digit maximum temperature. It was expected to exceed 32 degrees).
Still, the flames and the fires adjacent to them pose a continuous threat within hundreds of miles of each other.
Historical droughts associated with heat waves and climate change make it difficult to fight wildfires in the western United States. Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier, more extreme weather, and more frequent and destructive wildfires over the last three decades.
Near the Klamath National Forest, firefighters were on the lookout for a small community ordered to evacuate on the path of an antelope fire. It contained only 20%.
Further northwest, about 500 homes scattered in and around the Shasta-Trinity National Forest remained under threat from the monument and McFarland fires initiated by the thunderstorm last week.
About a two-hour drive south of the Dixie fire, the crew surrounded about one-third of the river fire that broke out near the town of Corfax on Wednesday, destroying nearly 90 homes and other buildings. Thousands of people in Nevada and Placer County were evacuated on Friday. Three people were injured, including a firefighter, officials said.
Dale Hoover entered the fire zone on Friday to examine his brother’s house, which had become rubble.
“It used to be a lot of cool stuff, but now it’s just trash,” Hoover said. “I can’t fix it. We can tear it up and start over or run away. I think he wanted to rebuild here.”
Fire smoke covered central California and western Nevada, deteriorating air quality to very unhealthy levels. Air quality recommendations spread west through the San Joaquin Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area, encouraging residents to keep their windows and doors closed.
California is on track to surpass last year’s worst fire season in recently recorded state history. Since the beginning of this year, more than 6,000 flames have destroyed more than 1,260 square miles (3,260 square kilometers) of land, according to state fire statistics. This is more than three times the loss for the same period in 2020.
California’s raging wildfires were among more than 100 large-scale, lively fires burning in 14 states.
Nguyen reported from Oakland, California. Associated Press writer Adam Beam of Sacramento, Terry Chea of Colfax, CA, Christopher Weber and Stefanie Dazio of Los Angeles, and Jocelyn Gecker of San Francisco contributed to this report.