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‘We Lost Greenville’: Unstoppable Wildfire Incinerates Historic California Town

The massive and unstoppable 300,000-acre Dixie Fire has blasted its way through the historic California Gold Rush town of Greenville, incinerating the more than 100-year old mining community into an unrecognizable wasteland of cracked asphalt, scorched metal, charred trees, and black ash.

Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office warned Greenville’s roughly 800 residents on Wednesday that they were “in imminent danger” and that they “MUST leave now” as the apocalyptic blaze encroached at around 40 miles per hour.

“It’s devastating. It’s hard to put into words other than it’s difficult,” Greenville Fire Chief Sergio Mora told CBS News after he beheld the carnage. “I hope I never have to see this again. The post office is gone, the bank is gone, their library, their fire station, couple churches, a lot of people’s homes, their livelihood.”

The fire “burnt down our entire downtown. Our historical buildings, families homes, small businesses, and our children’s schools are completely lost,” Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss wrote on Facebook.

“We did everything we could,” Greenville Fire Department spokesman Mitch Matlow told the Associated Press. “Sometimes it’s just not enough.”

Much of the Western United States has been experiencing sweltering and unprecedented heat this summer, sparking hundreds of wildfires that emergency crews are desperately struggling – and in many areas, completely failing – to contain or extinguish.

“Scientists say climate change 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,” the Associated Press reported on Thursday. “More than 20,000 firefighters and support personnel were battling 97 wildfires covering 2,919 square miles (7,560 square kilometers) in 13 U.S. states.”

Eastern portions of the country have seen their skies haze with the smoke that is relentlessly emanating from the infernos.

The extreme temperatures combined with high winds and a lack of precipitation have also worsened the devastating droughts that now threaten the dwindling water supplies held in Lake Mead and Lake Tahoe, which combined provide water to more than 24 million Americans.

For years, industrialists and politicians have ignored the dire warnings of the world’s scientific community that if humanity fails to stop burning fossil fuels – and cease dumping billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually – that climate-related catastrophes will become increasingly frequent and destructive.

The Earth’s current six mass extinction is already an unavoidable, man-made reality, however, we are only now beginning to reap the consequences of a worldwide economy founded and dependent upon unlimited consumption, ecological exploitation, and short-term corporate profits in the name of “growth.”

Most experts believe that unless we immediately break our addiction to oil within this decade, it may already be too late to avert a total disruption of the planet’s climatic systems, leading to runaway global warming, the collapse of terrestrial ecosystems, and, potentially, an uninhabitable world.

Capitalism – which once briefly held the promise of prosperity for all people – has become the proverbial suicide of our civilization.



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