The US state of California has been experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons in its history for several weeks now, as the ”Dixie” fire ravages huge parts of the Californian north.
The thick smoke that held down temperatures in the last few days began to clear on Sunday from the scenic forestlands of Northern California as firefighters battling the largest single wildfire in state history braced for a return of fire-friendly weather, the Voice of America reported on Monday.
California Wildfires Fueled by Hot Weather
‘The winds are not expected to reach the terrifying speeds that helped the Dixie Fire explode in size last week; however, they are still a concern for firefighters working in unprecedented conditions to protect thousands of homes, according to the VOA.
Mark Brunton, operations section chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in an online briefing Sunday morning that the live trees that ”are out there now have a lower fuel moisture than you would find when you go to a hardware store or a lumber yard and get that piece of lumber that’s kiln-dried.”
“It’s that dry, so it doesn’t take much for any sort of embers, sparks, or small flaming front to get that going,” he added.
Fueled by very strong winds and the dry vegetation of the region, the fire has already burned much of the town of Greenville, California.
This took place on Wednesday and Thursday, destroying a total of 370 homes and structures and threatening nearly 14,000 buildings in the northern Sierra Nevada.
The Dixie Fire, named for the road where it started nearly a month ago, grew overnight to an area of 1,875 square kilometers (725 square miles) on Sunday morning.
According to CalFire, only 21 percent of its total area was contained.
Residents Refuse to Evacuate — Similar to What is Happening in Greece
The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that many residents in the region refuse to leave their properties when local authorities reach them to ask them to evacuate for their own safety.
The Dixie Fire’s movement northeastward has been slowed in part because it has reached the “scar” of an earlier blaze, the 2007 Moonlight Fire, reducing the available fuel, CalFire said in a statement over the weekend.
More than 5,000 men and women are now battling the blaze, which is sending such enormous clouds of smoke into the air that they are easily visible from space.
The Voice of America reported on Sunday that preliminary investigation has suggested the fire was started when a tree fell on a power cable owned by regional utility Pacific Gas & Company, a private operator that was earlier blamed for the huge Camp Fire in 2018, which killed 86 people.