Dixie Fire Grows To Second-Largest In Calif. History: The Dixie Fire ballooned in size over the weekend, polluting air quality to dangerous levels across the West. The fire, the 6th-largest on record in California history just last Thursday is now the second-largest fire in California history and the state’s largest-ever single-source fire with nearly 500,000 acres burned as of Sunday evening. At least five people are currently missing though that number could grow as residents, some armed, refuse to evacuate.
Heat and drought, both of which are being made worse by human-caused climate change, have dried out the fire’s fuel sources, leading to “fire activity that even veteran firefighters haven’t seen in their career,” Edwin Zuniga, a spokesman for Cal Fire told The Washington Post. “We’re just in really uncharted territory.”
Smoke from fires in California and across the West has dangerously polluted air in multiple major cities, including Denver and Salt Lake City where air quality levels were among the worst in the world. That smoke, ironically, kept the fire from growing even faster over the weekend, but conditions are likely to clear and become more dangerous in the coming days. (Washington Post $, New York Times $, Politico, Axios, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR, NBC, The Hill; Evacuation refusal: LA Times $, New York Times $; Air quality: AP, KUTV, 9-NEWS Denver, AP, Washington Post $; Fire conditions: AP; Climate Signals background: 2021 Western wildfire season, Drought)
‘Where do I go?’: Thousands flee as Dixie Fire morphs into third-largest blaze in California’s history (Washington Post $), firefighters on the front lines of the Dixie Fire don’t know if their own homes are still standing (CNN), six of California’s seven largest wildfires have erupted in the past year (Washington Post $), ‘nothing’s safe’ as wildfire tears through California town (AP)