Dixie Fire largest single California wildfire in state history
GREENVILLE, Calif. - The Dixie Fire raging in the Sierra Nevada now has the notorious distinction of being California's largest wildfire in state history.
According to Cal Fire's ranking over the weekend, the Dixie Fire, burning through Butte, Plumas, Lassen and Tehama counties in the northern part of the state, had consumed over 482,047 acres, destroying 873 structures and miraculously, killing no one. Small towns including Greenville and Canyondom were essentially turned to rubble and ash.
Three firefighters have been injured.
Firefighters lost some containment ground on Friday. By Monday evening, the blaze was 22% contained, down from an early 35%. Cal Fire officials also adjusted the acreage slightly downsizing it due to better mapping, officials said.
By comparison, the August Complex Lightning Fire last August scorched more than a million acres, but that fire was comprised of several fires in the Mendocino and Humbolt county area.
The third and fourth largest fires include the Mendocino Complex Fire in July 2018 (459,000 acres) and the SCU Lightning Complex Fire, (396,000 acres) also last August.
MORE: Heightened wildfire conditions to return to Northern California
Despite the magnitude of the fires, there were only two deaths among the top four largest wildfires. One person died in the August Complex Fire and one person died during the Mendocino Complex Fire, according to Cal Fire.
The cause of the Dixie Fire is 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 on Friday to give details by Aug. 16 about the equipment and vegetation where the fire started.
Cooler temperatures and higher humidity slowed the spread of the fire on Sunday, and temperatures topped 90 degrees instead of the triple-digit highs recorded earlier in the week.
But the blaze and its neighboring fires, within several hundred miles of each other, posed an ongoing threat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.