California’s Dixie Fire largest in state history

The Dixie Wildfire which has been raging in northern California is now the largest recorded in state history.

The burned area is about the size of Cancun in Mexico, and larger than the city of Houston in Texas.

The state governor, Gavin Newsom, has said it is the largest single fire in Californian history.

Only the August Complex in 2020, a conflagration of fires which burnt through more than one million acres across six counties in the north of the state, is recorded as destroying a greater land area.

Dixie has overtaken the second largest other single fire in state history, 2018’s Mendocino Complex.

More than 8,000 firefighters are working round the clock to contain it.

The wildfire, burning northeast of San Francisco, had grown to 489,287 acres or 764.5 square miles from about 274,000 acres in the middle of last week, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The blaze has been active for 26 days and is 21% contained, the department added.

Fire activity intensified in recent days amid low relative humidity and strong southwest winds in the West Zone, and warm temperatures and low humidity in the East Zone, the department said, adding it has spread across four counties.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, though utility company Pacific Gas & Electric has said it may have started when a tree fell on one of the utility’s power lines.

Separately, a federal judge has ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to explain the utility company’s possible role in starting the fire.

US District Judge William Alsup said the company would have until 16 Au to respond.

“PG&E’s responses will not be deemed as an admission by PG&E that it caused any fire, but they will serve as a starting point for discussion,” the judge said.

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