California wildfire now second-worst in state history

Greenville   –  The monstrous Dixie Fire in northern California has grown to become the second-largest wildfire in state history, authorities said Sunday, with three people reported missing and thousands fleeing the advancing flames.

As of Sunday, the fire had destroyed 463,477 acres (187,562 hectares), up from the previous day’s 447,723 acres. It now covers an area larger than Los Angeles.

The Dixie blaze is the largest active wildfire in the United States, but one of only 11 major wildfires in California.

Over the weekend, it surpassed the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire to make it the second-worst fire in state history. On Saturday, Governor Gavin Newsom visited the burnt-out historic town of Greenville, expressing his “deep gratitude” to the teams fighting the flames.

He said authorities had to devote more resources to managing forests and preventing fires.

But he added that “the dries are getting a lot drier, it is hotter than it has ever been… we need to acknowledge just straight up these are climate-induced wildfires.” Climate change amplifies droughts which dry out regions, creating ideal conditions for wildfires to spread out-of-control and inflict unprecedented material and environmental damage.

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