California has been witnessing the second-largest fire in the US state’s history over the past few weeks.
“The Dixie Fire is now the second-largest fire in California’s history,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) said on Twitter.
“As firefighters continue their fight against 11 major wildfires complexes across the state, please take the time to ensure you and your family are Evacuation Ready by visiting http://ReadyForWildfire.org,” it added.
Since its outbreak, the fire has burned more than 463,000 acres and is 21% contained, CalFire said on its website.
Historic buildings, homes, businesses and schools were “completely lost” during the fire.
Crews have constructed 465 miles (748 km) of line around the massive blaze, Deputy Incident Commander Chris Waters said.
That’s about the distance from the central California city of Chico to Los Angeles. But officials are only confident that about 20% of that is secure, he said.
“Every bit of that line needs to be constructed, staffed, mopped up and actually put to bed before we can call this fire fully contained,” Waters said during Saturday evening’s incident briefing.
Investigation Opened into the Causes
The fire’s cause was under investigation.
The Pacific Gas & Electric utility has said it may have been sparked when a tree fell on one of its power lines.
A federal judge ordered PG&E to give details by Aug. 16 about the equipment and vegetation where the fire started.
UK authorities declared intention to send firefighters to Greece this weekend to help in its battle against wildfires.
Over the past weeks, Greece has carried out mass evacuations in the northern suburbs of
Athens and on the nearby island of Evia as the wind whipped up huge wildfires.
At least 400 wildfires are raging across the country, killing one and injuring 20 so far.
UK home secretary, Priti Patel, who visited Greece earlier this week, said she had asked the
National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) to join the frantic response to the country’s worst wildfires in three decades.
Patel said: “We are sending a team of experienced firefighters to support Greek firefighters
currently battling the huge blazes. When I visited my Greek counterparts earlier this week, I saw the devastating effect the fires are having. The UK stands with you.”
Mark Hardingham, the chair of the NFCC, said: “The UK Fire and Rescue Service will be
offering support to our colleagues in Greece, along with their communities who need assistance during these devastating wildfires.
“NFCC’s National Resilience function is in place to deploy both in the UK and overseas – and
the team is highly skilled at responding to extreme events such as these.
“We can offer professional and technical skills to our fire family in Greece at a time when
help is needed; it is ingrained in the professional nature of FRS staff to assist.”
France To Join the Battle
France also said it would provide a further three aircraft and 80 firefighters to join the
hundreds that had already been sent.
On Saturday, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted: “France stands by Greece,
which is suffering greatly from catastrophic fires. After discussion with the Prime Minister
[Kyriakos Mitsotakis], 3 Canadairs and 80 French firefighters and rescuers were deployed in Greece [to assist] with urgent procedures. Solidarity, as Europeans, always.”
Firefighters from France, Switzerland, Sweden, Cyprus and Romania have been deployed to assist Greece.