May 12, 2022

In California, the gigantic Dixie Fire engulfed the community of Greenville

Posted today at 01:47, updated at 02:13

Greenville, a small town of about 800 residents in northern California, was engulfed in flames from the Dixie Fire on the night of Wednesday August 4 to Thursday August 5. The fire has devastated northern California for three weeks, fueled by sweltering heat, alarming drought and continuing winds. The fire, which has now spread to more than 110,000 hectares, is so vast that it is at the origin of its own climatic phenomena.

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Road signs twisted in the heat in Greenvile, Thursday August 5, 2021.
The Dixie Fire destroyed several historic buildings, including the Greenville Bookstore, Thursday, August 5, 2021.

“We did all we could”area firefighter spokesman Mitch Matlow told reporters. “Sometimes that’s not enough. “ A gas station, hotel and bar were destroyed, along with some buildings over a century old, in this town built during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century.e century.

The fire reached Greenville at around 4 p.m. Wednesday (1 hour Thursday in Paris), according to Jake Cagle, section chief on the crisis management team.

Images taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer show metal lampposts folded in half by the heat of the fire.

Unanswered calls to evacuate

In a video posted Wednesday evening, he said firefighters were being delayed by people not following evacuation orders, forcing them to sacrifice time and resources to come to their aid. “We have firefighters who find themselves facing weapons aimed at them, because of people who do not want to evacuate”, explained Mr. Cagle.

A house ravaged by flames in Greenville, Calif., Thursday, August 5, 2021.

Some 2,000 California residents were called on Wednesday to evacuate ” immediately “ their home as the flames approached.

“If you stayed, you should evacuate EAST, IMMEDIATELY!” “, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office tweeted, speaking to residents of the communities of Greenville and Chester. “If you are still in the Greenville area, you are in imminent danger and you MUST go now!” “, he added in a second alert message, specifying: “If you stay, the emergency services may not be able to help you. “

The promise of burying electric cables

Firefighters attempt to contain the blaze in Greenville, Wednesday August 4, 2021.

In July, the number of acres burned in California was up 250% from 2020, which was already the worst fires year in recent state history.

The Dixie Fire is painfully reminiscent of the Paradise Fire of 2018, the deadliest fire for California in recent years. Faulty power lines, which ran through the northern town of Paradise, had swept through the blaze, killing 86 people.

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Energy supplier Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), California’s largest energy company, had pleaded guilty.

Electric poles on the ground after the fire had passed, Thursday, August 5, 2021, in Greenville.

PG&E equipment is again in question for the Dixie Fire, after a tree fell on a power cable the day the fire started.

At the end of July, the company announced that it would bury its 16,000 km of electric cables in order to prevent its equipment from causing new devastating fires.