The Dixie Fire burning in two Northern California counties is now the largest single wildfire in recorded state history, exploding in size overnight as drought-stricken lands continue to fuel the flames.
The fire, which has burned for 23 days and forced mass evacuations, razed the Gold Rush town of Greenville on Thursday, destroying 91 buildings and damaging five others.
Smoke from the blaze has blown to lower parts of Northern California, including the state capital of Sacramento where the air quality index on Friday reached “unhealthy” levels.
USA Today reports:
The blaze has also led to smoke and ash settling in central California and western Nevada, reducing air quality to unhealthy and sometimes hazardous levels. Residents were urged to keep windows and doors shut as air quality advisories stretched through the San Joaquin Valley and as far west as the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tony Fuentes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno, said he expect some improvement Saturday but said smoke should linger in the area over the weekend and into next week.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but Pacific Gas & Electric said in two separate reports to the California Public Utilities Commission that it may have been sparked when a tree fell on one of its power lines.
If you are anticipating an evacuation in your area, keep your car keys with you so that you can quickly locate them. Learn more tips at https://t.co/GYXDTg26BD #WildfireReady pic.twitter.com/ZXiXPMck8g
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 7, 2021