Updated Aug 10, 2021 - Science

Thousands of Californians under evacuation orders as Dixie Fire nears 500,000 acres

A burned vehicle sits among destroyed structures caused by the Dixie Fire on August 9, 2021 situated near Highway 89 in Indian Falls, California.
A burned vehicle and destroyed structures caused by the Dixie Fire, near Highway 89 in Indian Falls, California, on Monday. Photo: David Odisho/Getty Images

Over 12,000 people in eight California counties are under wildfire evacuation evacuation orders — most impacted by America's biggest blaze, the Dixie Fire.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, the second largest in California's history, was threatening Indian Valley homes near the fire-ravaged town of Greenville on Monday night. Images taken from the scene showed the blaze that's razed more than 482,000 acres creating its own weather overnight.

 The sun rises over Sloan's Lake on poor air quality day due to smoke from California wildfires mixes with elevated ozone pollution on August 9, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.
Sloan's Lake In Denver on Tuesday amid poor air quality due to smoke from California wildfires mixed with elevated ozone pollution. Colorado also has a large wildfire burning, the Sylvan Fire, near Eagle, west of Denver. Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty

Threat level: Smoke from 108 large fires in the West has reduced air quality in the eastern U.S. this week, with places including New York City, Iowa and Minnesota experiencing hazy skies.

  • Air quality in Denver has been particularly bad, with smoke from California's 11 large fires traveling some 1,000 miles. The Colorado city has this week recorded some of the worst air quality in the world.
  • Firefighters across the West also now face the threat of another extreme heat wave this week.

Context: A sweeping new report from the UN's IPCC concludes: "Human influence on the climate system is now an established fact."

For the record: The Dixie Fire has destroyed 873 buildings since igniting on July 14 and was 22% contained. Cal Fire doesn't expect containment until Aug. 30.

  • Heavy smoke from the blaze abated earlier Monday, enabling aircraft to help join firefighting efforts, AP notes. By Monday night, the wildfire was raging along the Moonlight fire burn scar.
  • Plumas County Sheriff's Office officials said at a Monday evening briefing that four people listed as unaccounted for had been found.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of the Dixie Fire's threat to Indian Valley homes.

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