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Businesses burn as the Dixie fire tears through downtown Greenville, California on Aug. 4. Photo: Jash Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Officials in the northern California town of Greenville on Thursday said they were at a loss for words to describe the widespread destruction left by the massive Dixie Fire, which razed businesses and homes Wednesday night.

What they're saying: "Our beloved small town of Greenville, CA faced our biggest nightmare," Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss wrote on Facebook. "Our historical buildings, families homes, small businesses, and our children's schools are completely lost."

  • "Every square inch of downtown holds countless memories for each member of our small community and ample amount of history from our ancestors," he added. "I am at a loss for words and my heart goes out to everyone of you that suffered loss, evacuated and weary on what is to come."

Context: The extremely dry conditions in northern California are the result of a severe drought, which is the worst the West has seen so far this century, Axios' Andrew Freedman reports.

  • Studies show human-caused climate change is driving an increase in the likelihood and severity of heat waves and droughts, and is behind a trend toward larger wildfires in much of the West in recent years, Freedman adds.
In photos:
Flames rise from a building during the Dixie Fire near Chico in Greenville, California, on Aug. 5. Photo: Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The Dixie Fire sweeps through Greenville, California. Photo: Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Firefighters try to extinguish Dixie Fire near Chico in Greenville, California. Photo: Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The Dixie Fire near Greenville, California, on Aug. 5. Photo: Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif., on Aug. 4. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images
Businesses burn as the Dixie fire tears through downtown Greenville, California, on Aug. 4. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
Vehicles and a building burn during the Dixie fire in downtown Greenville, California, on Aug. 4. Photo: Josh Edleson/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Go deeper

17 hours ago - Sports

Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts first-ever driverless car race

Boston Dynamics' robot dog holds the starting flag on the grid of the Indy Autonomous Challenge race at the Indianapolis Speedway on Oct. 23. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway helped autonomous vehicle researchers reach a new milestone over the weekend by hosting its inaugural driverless car race.

Driving the news: Nine teams from 21 universities competed to win the $1 million grand prize — with Technical University of Munich (TUM) recording the fastest two-lap average speed of 135.944 mph on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval, per an Indy Autonomous Challenge statement.

Gaming CEO calls on industry to help fight climate change

"Catalyst Black." Screenshot: Super Evil Megacorp

Gaming CEO Kristian Segerstrale is calling on leaders in his industry to take action on climate change, after completing a $1.4 million fundraising campaign this summer.

Why it matters: Gaming's pandemic-fueled boom creates an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to do some good.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.