Story at a glance
- A fire burning in Butte County, Calif., is the largest active fire in the state.
- Gov. Newsom has blamed climate change for increasingly catastrophic fires in the state amid soaring temperatures.
- More than a dozen structures have been destroyed so far.
As a fire in Oregon dominates headlines as the largest wildfire in America, California is now reckoning with another deadly fire scorching the state at the onset of the country’s wildfire season.
The fire, known locally as the Dixie Fire and centered in Butte County in the northern part of the state, has burned about 197,487 acres and remains 22 percent contained, per Cal Fire.
The fire has only been active for about 12 days and is fueled by excessively hot temperatures.
The Weather Channel reported that it threatened more than 1,500 structures and destroyed 16 as of last Saturday. Cal Fire further noted that more than 15 evacuation orders were issued for different municipalities in the affected regions.
One structure suffered damage but wasn’t outright destroyed.
More than 5,400 personnel, 80 water trucks, 540 engines, 30 helicopters and 120 dozers have been assigned to the Dixie Fire so far.
In a statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) further blamed climate change for the series of extreme wildfires that have plagued the states for several years.
“Climate change is the driving force behind the extreme weather we see across the globe — creating hotter, drier conditions in Western states and contributing to unparalleled risk of catastrophic wildfire,” he said.
On July 20, Newsom issued a press release confirming California has secured assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help combat the fire and other incidents active in Butte and Plumas Counties.
Major heat waves have hit the western U.S. over the last month, further fueling the arid conditions and ready fuel loads that contribute to rampant wildfires.