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California Fire Toll Reaches 1 Million Burned Acres

A firefighter monitors a control burn to prevent the fire line from reaching the structures situated on North Arm Road during the Dixie Fire near Taylorsville, California, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. The Dixie Fire, which PG&E says may have been sparked by its equipment, is the second-largest blaze in state history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

(Bloomberg) --Never before has so much landscape burned in California at this point in the year with more than 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) torched and firefighters bracing for more conflagrations this week.

By Mark Chediak
Aug 16, 2021, 6:34 PM – Updated on Aug 16, 2021, 8:08 PM
Word Count: 282
Crews are battling 10 large blazes including the Dixie Fire, the second-biggest in state history, that has already scorched about 570,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection known as Cal Fire.

The Dixie Fire, which may have been started by equipment owned by utility giant PG&E Corp., was 31% contained as of Monday morning.

Meanwhile, PG&E began notifying about 39,000 customers in Northern California that it may need to cut power as soon as Tuesday evening to prevent electrical lines from sparking new fires during dry and windy weather. The National Weather Service has issued a fire-weather watch for portions of Northern California for Tuesday evening through late Wednesday with expected wind gusts as high as 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour).

California’s Dixie Fire Now State’s Second-Biggest Wildfire Ever
A resident defies evacuation orders to walksher dog along Arlington Road during the Dixie Fire in Taylorsville, California, U.S., on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. The Dixie Fire, which PG&E says may have been sparked by its equipment, is the second-largest blaze in state history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
A severe drought has parched much of the most-populous U.S. state, leaving hillside grasses and forests vulnerable to ignition. This year’s pace of destruction is a historical record and is ahead of last year, which ended up being the worst annual fire season ever with 4.3 million acres burned, according to Cal Fire. The current devastation comes ahead of what’s typically the most-active fire period, when autumn offshore winds pick up and lead to dangerous fire conditions.

(Updates with record pace in first paragraph)

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  • Steve Spottiswoode says:

    One million acres sounds and is impressive and very disturbing for the people who have lost houses and other valuables. However, it is only 405 000 Ha / 423 970 square kilometres, or a little less than 0.1% of the area of the state. Humans have come to dominate 100% of nature and expert opinion sits strongly on the side of cautioning against keeping fires out too much and too long.

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