- More homes burned down and 10,000 more remained at risk from the Dixie fire.
- More than 5,000 firefighters are fighting the combined blaze.
- Firefighters forced to walk over rough terrain with hand tools.
More homes burned down and 10,000 more remained at risk on Monday as a rapidly growing wildfire in northern California merged with another blaze and swept through the Plumas County community in Indian Falls.
“The Dixie Fire has experienced significant growth and very difficult fire conditions,” fire officials said in an incident report Sunday night.
The blaze had already razed at least 16 homes and other structures, but a new damage estimate was not immediately available as the flames still raged in the mountainous region. Firefighters carrying hand tools have been forced to walk over rough terrain where engines cannot go, said Rick Carhart, spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The blaze, which began to burn less than two weeks ago, has consumed 308 square miles of forest, brush andhomes in Plumas and Butte counties, about two hours northeast of Sacramento. It was 22% content by late Monday afternoon. More than 5,000 firefighters are fighting the Dixie and Fly combined fires.
“It burned down in extremely steep canyons, some places where it’s almost impossible for humans to get a foot on the ground,” Carhart said. “It’s going to be a long journey. “
“Like a hammer hitting us in the head”: Houses ablaze in California as wildfires rage in the West
Strike crews with engines were in Indian Falls and near Paxton, communities totaling just a few dozen people, to save as many homes as they could as the blaze escalated, Carhart said. Firefighters prepared fire lines southwest of the town of Taylorsville to protect the community of about 200 residents as the flames advanced.
Smoke submerged much of the area – but that was actually good news, Dixie fire behavior analyst Dennis Burns said in a briefing.
“Smoke is like putting a lid on a pot,” Burns said. “It really dampens the behavior of the fire. It doesn’t allow the sun to preheat these fuels, and the thick smoke pushes the wind out of the sides (of the fire).”
Cal Incident Team 2 commander Mike Minton told CBS television that fire behavior and conditions are not common in the area.
“The threats and risks associated with this fire are very real,” he said. “It’s very extreme fire behavior that has essentially forced firefighters to retreat to safe areas and allow this fire front to pass through.”
Huge contraband fire burns in Oregon as officials seek outside help
The blaze was one of 85 large fires that were burning in 13 states, devouring more than 2,300 square miles of forest and brush, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
Three people died on Monday when their jet crashed near a golf course in the Lake Tahoe area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The accident sparked a forest fire that was quickly brought under control before threatening the city of Truckee, Calif., Authorities said.
The largest fire in the United States, the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, had burned about 640 square miles in the Fremont-Winema National Forest and was 53% contained as of Monday afternoon.
The fire destroyed more than 70 homes and thousands more were threatened.
“Seasonal drying coupled with drought conditions made all fuels available for active burning conditions,” fire officials said in an update Saturday night.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown said the impact of climate change was being felt “in real time”. She said her state was taking initiatives, such as thinning and burning forests to mitigate the risks. But federal help will be needed, she said.
“Historic fires, extensive drought, unprecedented heat,” Brown said on Twitter. “We need bold congressional action to complement the actions we are taking at the state level.”
Nationwide, air quality alerts were in effect in New England due to smoke from wildfires in the west, which made it difficult for sensitive groups to breathe, the National Weather said. Service. “People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children are the groups most at risk,” warned the weather service.
Contribution: Elinor Aspegren