Disasters & Accidents

Heat wave hampers efforts against California’s largest wildfire

San Francisco, Aug 12 (EFE).- The more than 6,000 people battling the largest active wildfire in California struggled to make progress Thursday amid daytime temperatures approaching 38 C (100 F).

Containment of the Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 in a mountainous area near Lassen National Forest in the northeastern part of the state, has remained at 30 percent for more than 24 hours.

The combination of high temperatures, low humidity and warm winds from the southeast is hampering the effort, according to the latest update from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

The Dixie blaze, named for the road nearest the site of the outbreak, has burned 223,000 hectares (550,617 acres) in Plumas, Butte, Lassen and Tehama counties, making it the second-largest fire in California history in terms of extent.

Public health officials in the San Francisco Bay Area, some 400 km (250 mi) away, issued an air quality warning Thursday out of concern that smoke from the Dixie Fire could reach the Pacific coast.

Cal Fire said that the flames have consumed more than 1,100 buildings, including nearly 600 homes and 131 businesses.

Last week, the Dixie Fire all but destroyed Greenville, a town of around 1,000 residents in Plumas County, but the disaster has yet to claim any lives.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, California utility regulators received a report stating that an employee of Pacific Gas & Electric who was repairing a line saw sparks from worn-out fuses on a power pylon spark flames in the undergrowth.

PG&E, the largest electric utility in the United States, supplies powers to the vast majority of households and businesses in central and northern California.

The Dixie Fire is evoking memories of the 2018 blaze that killed 85 people in nearby Paradise, California, for which PG&E was found responsible. EFE arc/dr

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