Eight Missing,10K Buildings Threatened By NorCal Dixie Fire
Heatwaves and historic drought tied to the climate crisis have made wildfires harder to fight in the American west. Weather at the site of a raging wildfire in Northern California was expected to have higher humidity and calmer winds over the weekend with temperatures topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the 40-mph gusts and triple-digit highs recorded earlier in the week. Smoke from wildfires blanketed central California and western Nevada, causing air quality to deteriorate to very unhealthy levels and, in some areas, the worst levels in the world as measured by World Air Quality Index, especially in Plumas county,
At least eight people were missing on Saturday as the wildfire continued to scorch through Northern California communities, forest, and dry scrub in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Named for the road where it started, the Dixie Fire now spans an area of 679 square miles. No injuries or deaths had been reported by early Saturday, but the Plumas County Sheriff’s office, about 160 miles north of Sacramento, said on Saturday afternoon that eight individuals had been reported missing and were asking for the public’s help in finding them.
People in the scenic region were already facing a weekend of fear as the huge wildfire threatened to reduce thousands of homes to ashes. Wind-driven flames destroyed dozens of homes and most of the small town of Greenville’s downtown on Wednesday and Thursday, and also heavily damaged Canyondam, a hamlet with a population of about three dozen people. The fire reached Chester but crews managed to protect homes and businesses there, officials said.
The blaze, which has been raging for three weeks and incinerated much of the gold rush-era town of Greenville this week, was threatening more than 10,000 buildings in the northern Sierra Nevada. It had engulfed an area larger than New York City.
75% of water in Ca. State Water Project comes from Feather River (blue). No forest canopy in high elevations means no shade, snow melts quicker, and we have less water available late in the summer. It's a really big deal. Here is the area burned in past 12 months. #DixieFire pic.twitter.com/Zi4XrakUBz
— Zeke Lunder (@wildland_zko) August 7, 2021
Scientists say climate breakdown has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.