Residents of the town of Gold Rush are considering the devastation of wildfires


After weeks of fire, smoke and warnings, Kimberly Price’s beloved hometown was running out of time.

Price’s longtime partner John Hunter told her she needed to leave as the wind drove Dixie’s fire directly into Greenville. Price, 58, spent most of his life in the close Sierra Nevada community. She couldn’t stand the idea of ​​leaving, but the flames were everywhere.

She made the hunter promise he would obey, and then she left the house she bought from her grandparents, away from the house where her granddaughter spent her life, and took the carefully cared butterfly bushes and cherry trees to the Greenville. I’m gone. We’re away from the storage unit that stored handmade Christmas ornaments and mother’s belongings, and away from the hunter-owned 92-year-old hardware store.

Within an hour, Most of them are gone..

The flames overtook the town of 1,000 gold rushes last week, destroying many of the homes and historic downtowns of the area, hotels, bars and Hunter Ace hardware stores. Like earlier Paradise and Berry Creek, Greenville has become another city in Northern California devastated by fire.

Firefighters are still fighting to contain the flames that leveled most of the Green Building. The Dixie Fire has grown into the largest single wildfire recorded in California history.

On Tuesday, the fire continued to penetrate the woodlands as the fire brigade tried to protect the rural areas from the flames. The disappearance of heavy smoke along one end of the fire allowed the aircraft to fight about 6,000 firefighters.

Temperatures are rising and humidity is expected to decline in the coming days. Three-digit high temperatures can occur later in the week and strong afternoon winds can return.

These are the situations that have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire since it began on July 13. The fire by Tuesday destroyed nearly 900 homes and other buildings, already burning thousands of acres before hitting the Green Building last week.

Price drove with two dogs and a parrot, about five miles from Greenville, overcoming emotions before leaving the road. She worked hard in town as much as she could. After the first evacuation order was issued nearly two weeks ago, Price lags behind and spends his days feeding cats, chickens and rabbits in his neighborhood, sending photos of his house, and working in hardware stores. spent. But things got worse on Wednesday, and customers at a local landmark store warned that a fire was approaching.

“John has been a firefighter for over 45 years. The wind blew and it was over,” she said. “I was there until the end, and it was terrible. It was like being in a movie.”

Price evacuated to the nearby town of Quincy, where his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter also sought refuge. The hunter joined her later that day.And soon, Price learned what was lost: her daughter’s Homes and many downtown buildings that became the cornerstones of life in the area, Hunter’s homes, and the old store where her youngest granddaughter worked, and where Price was organizing a new pet section.

People sometimes wanted to come to hardware stores from outside the state to see historic items lined up on the walls, such as indigenous baskets and antique guns. That was also old-fashioned. The customer still had an account and the hunter was sending a monthly invoice created by an old typewriter in the office upstairs.

“We lost it all,” she said. “The whole July is on fire. We don’t know what people owe us. They lost everything and can’t pay anyway.”

Price’s own home survives and she wants to get back there, but she doesn’t know exactly what she’s going back to. “I want to go home, but I feel guilty because my daughter lost everything and my partner lost everything, but my house is still there,” she said in tears. “What should I go back to? Maybe I’ve burned out with everyone else.”

The family has been with Quincy’s friends for a while until they can get home and they are trying to handle the trauma of what happened.

She states: I’m still shocked and feel this isn’t realistic yet. How can I get the whole town out in minutes? “

Hunter’s insurance company canceled the store’s policy last year due to local fire risk and the couple have no plans to restart it, but they are thinking of staying in town to help rebuild it. increase.

Still, it’s hard to know what the future holds when the fire is still burning.

“It’s hard to swallow and it’s not over,” Price said. “The whole area is in danger. The fire is everywhere. It’s everywhere. I don’t think they’re going to stop it. I don’t think they can. “

On Tuesday, California officials said the Dixie fire had expanded to an area of ​​762 square miles (1,950 square kilometers), containing only 25%. It burned an area more than twice as large as New York City. Initially more than 30 people were reported missing, but by Monday the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office was all.

The Dixie Fire is the largest single fire in California’s history and is currently the largest fire in the United States. The fire is about half the size of last year’s fire group August Complex, and authorities consider it the largest fire in California as a whole.

Wildfires in California are one of 100 large flames burning primarily in 15 western states.

Scientists say the climate crisis has made the region much warmer and drier, more extreme weather, and more frequent and destructive wildfires over the last three decades.