California’s wildfire, which once destroyed an area equivalent to Chicago’s, is so large that it now generates its own climate and makes the firefighters’ task more difficult.
Some 5,400 firefighters mobilized in Northern California to quell the blaze called “Dixie Fire”, which has only been growing since mid-July, fueled by intense heat, an alarming drought and continuous winds.
Its magnitude is so great that in recent days it has created clouds called pyrocumulus that cause lightning and strong winds that fan the flames.
“Monday can be one of the toughest days: if these clouds are high enough, they have the potential to produce lightning,” said Julia Ruthford, meteorologist in charge of monitoring this fire.
To help with the rescue efforts, first responders come from a variety of locations, including Florida.
Dixie Fire has so far burned mostly isolated areas, which explains why only dozens of houses and other buildings have been damaged so far.
– Very painful –
Advancing along extremely uneven paths, firefighters are sometimes supported by a train, from which they manage to abundantly wet areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.
But in current weather conditions, “the embers can easily fly more than a kilometer from the fire,” firefighters spokesman Rick Carhart explains to AFP. For this reason, places that welcome evacuees, such as the town of Quincy, are under threat.
“It’s very painful to see him move forward without respite and approaching our lands,” Peggy Moak, a resident of a neighboring village, tells AFP.
Fires are common in California to the point that residents wonder what’s left to burn. But due to climate change, this summer has been particularly violent.
The marks of the drought that fuels the fire are everywhere: a golf course with a yellowed lawn and a boat trying to navigate a lake that is only a shadow of what once was.
The fires devoured three times more vegetation this year than the same time in 2020, which was the worst year in California history in terms of fires.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the gigantic fire was started after a power cable fell into a tree.
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