California’s Dixie Fire Explodes to ‘Megafire’ Status

An air tanker drops fire retardant to battle the Dixie Fire in the Feather River Canyon in Plumas County, Calif., Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

California’s huge Dixie Fire exploded to “megafire” status late Thursday, forcing more mandatory evacuations in nearby communities, fire officials said Friday.

At more than 221 square miles in size, it’s now the largest wildfire in California.

“The Dixie Fire is burning in a remote area with limited access, and extended travel times in steep terrain are hampering control efforts,” Cal Fire said in a statement. The “fire will continue to rapidly expand, causing a need for the critical resources to control and manage the incident.”

Shannon Prather, the incident commander for the Dixie Fire, said Thursday evening that “this fire is outpacing us at moments.”

It is the second megafire in the state this year. A blaze becomes a megafire when it surpasses 100,000 acres, which is about 156 square miles. Days ago, the 105,000-acre Sugar Fire in Butte County garnered the designation, KTLA-TV said.

Another California fire, the Tamarack Fire near Lake Tahoe, had burned more than 78 square miles of national forest as of early Friday. The fire has destroyed at least 10 buildings.

Fire officials expected active or extreme fire behavior on Friday in the Tamarack Fire because of afternoon gusts and temperatures approaching 90 degrees.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice

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