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A home is engulfed in flames as the Dixie fire rages on in Greenville, California, on Aug. 5. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Authorities continued to search into the night for four people missing in California's historic Dixie Fire, as wildfires raged across the West.

Driving the news: Those unaccounted for were all from the fire-devastated town of Greenville, per a statement from the Plumas County Sheriff's office Sunday. The Dixie Fire is the largest blaze burning in the U.S. and the second-biggest wildfire in the state's history, a Cal Fire spokesperson told Axios.

State of play: The Dixie Fire, which erupted in mid-July, was burning across 489,287 acres and was 21% contained as of Sunday evening, per Cal Fire.

  • It has destroyed 627 buildings and damaged 42 other structures.
  • Evacuation orders have been issued to dozens of communities across Plumas, Butte, Lassen, and Tehama counties.

The big picture: The U.S. West is in the grip of a severe drought exacerbated by human-caused climate change that has proven to be the worst to hit the region so far this century.

  • Studies show human-caused climate change is driving an increase in the likelihood and severity of heat waves, droughts and wildfires.
  • Six of the seven largest fires in California's history have occurred since August 2020, according to CalFire.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest.

Why it matters: The atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, was causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood, as it slowly moved south overnight. It's triggered widespread power outages, flooding and mudslides.

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
42 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.