Californians hit hard hard with weekend of wildfire fears – News Vibe24

    Californians hit hard hard with weekend of wildfire fears - Times of India
    GREENWILL: After four years of homelessness, Kesia Studebaker thought she finally fell on her feet when she found a job cooking at a dinner and moved into a house in the small Greenville community.
    She had been renting for three months and hoped that stability would help her regain custody of her 14-year-old daughter. But in just one night, a raging fire broke out in the mountain town and “took it all,” he said.
    Powered by strong winds and dry bones, the Dixie fire became the largest fire in the state’s history. People living in the picturesque forests of Northern California face a weekend of fear as it threatens to turn thousands of homes to ashes.
    “We knew we were not getting enough rain and it could cause fires, but we did not expect a monster like this,” Studebacker said on Saturday.
    The blaze burned much of Greenville on Wednesday and Thursday, destroying 370 homes and structures and threatening nearly 14,000 buildings in northern Sierra Nevada. He had swallowed an area larger than the size of New York.
    The Dixie Fire, named after the road it started on, stretches for 1,813 square miles on Saturday night and was reduced to just 21 percent, according to the California Department of Forests and Fire Protection.
    Four firefighters were taken to hospital on Friday after being hit by a fallen branch. More than 20 people were initially reported missing, but by Saturday afternoon authorities had contacted all but five.
    The cause of the fire is being investigated. Pacific Gas & Electric said it may have been sparked when a tree fell on one of its wires. A federal judge ordered PG&E on Friday to provide details on the equipment and vegetation from which the fire started until August 16.
    The coldest temperatures overnight and the highest humidity slowed the spread of the fire and the temperatures reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) instead of the three-digit highs recorded earlier in the week.
    But the fire and its neighboring fires, hundreds of miles apart, posed a constant threat.
    Studebaker sought refuge in an evacuation center before setting up her tent in the front yard of a friend.
    She estimates that she will return to work if the restaurant where she works remains open. Her boss was also evacuated when the town of Chester, northwest of Greenville, lost power and the smoke was so thick that it was difficult to breathe.
    Heat waves and historical drought associated with climate change have made fires more difficult to combat in the American West. Scientists say climate change has made the region much hotter and drier over the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and fires more frequent and devastating.
    Near the Klamath National Forest, firefighters are closely monitoring small communities ordered to evacuate the 30-meter-high Antelope Fire Trail, which previously blazed 30 meters of grass, blackened the brush and wood. It contained only 20%.
    To the northwest, about 500 homes scattered in and around the Shasta-Trinity National Forest remained under threat from the monument fire and others from the McFarland fire, both of which started with lightning storms last week, fire officials said.
    About two hours’ drive south of the Dixie fire, crews had cordoned off nearly half the fire in the river that broke out Wednesday near the town of Colfax, destroying 68 homes and other buildings. Evacuation orders for thousands of people in Nevada and Placer County were lifted on Friday. Three people, including a firefighter, were injured, authorities said.
    The smoke from the fires covered Northern California and western Nevada, causing air quality to deteriorate to very unhealthy and, at times, dangerous levels.
    Air quality advice was extended across the San Joaquin Valley, California, to the San Francisco Bay Area to Denver, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas, where residents were urged to keep their windows and doors closed. . Denver air quality is ranked among the worst in the world on Saturday afternoon.
    The California fire season is well on its way to surpassing last season, which was the worst fire season in the state’s recent history.
    Since the beginning of the year, more than 6,000 fires have destroyed more than 1,260 square miles (3,260 square kilometers) of land – three times the loss for the same period in 2020, according to state fire figures.
    Permanent California wildfires were among 107 major wildfires in 14 states, most notably the West, where historic drought conditions have left soils dry and ripe for ignition.

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