Firefighters have gained some ground on multiple wildfires in California over the past few weeks as the hot, windy conditions that had helped fuel flames abated. Crews could remain busy, however, as the western part of the U.S. moves into the latter part of fire season.
There are 10 large fires burning in California. The major fires in the Golden State are part of 64 large fires across the U.S. that have burned more than 3.1 million acres—on par with other fire seasons in recent years.
The Dixie Fire, the second largest blaze in the state’s recorded history, is now 94% contained according to fire officials. The fire, which started more than two months ago, has burned 963,309 acres and destroyed 1,329 structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. Two weeks ago, it was 75% contained.
The Caldor Fire, which narrowly missed the town of South Lake Tahoe in late August, is 76% contained, but nearly 1,500 people are still working on the blaze. The fire has burned 221,774 acres.
Cooler-than-average temperatures and spotty rain showers helped firefighters with containment this week, said Christine McMorrow, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire.
“The reality is this amount of rain is not enough—it’s not a fire season-ending amount of precipitation,” Ms. McMorrow said. “Those fuels will dry out quickly in a day or two.”
Historically, the state has experienced devastating fires during September and October, so authorities remain on high alert, she said.
The KNP Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park ignited from lightning strikes. The fire now exceeds 48,000 acres, and more than 1,800 firefighters are trying to contain it. Firefighters had covered some of the giant trees of Sequoia National Park in protective foil as the growing wildfires threatened one of the state’s most well-known groves. The General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree by volume, resides in one of the groves.
South of the KNP Complex Fire is the Windy Fire, where wind gusts tested containment lines on the 87,901-acre blaze, which is only 25% contained.
Last week, authorities in Northern California arrested a woman they allege started the Fawn Fire, which burned 185 structures and damaged another 26. The woman, Alexandra Souverneva, is charged with felony arson. Due to a declared state of emergency, Ms. Souverneva faces nine years if she is convicted, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said last Friday at a press conference announcing the charges.
The county public defender, Shana Vegvary, said her client entered a not guilty plea to the charges. “No evidence has been presented to the contrary,” Ms. Vegvary said. “We request that the public not prejudge this case.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday proclaimed a state of emergency for Shasta County to support the response to the Fawn Fire.
|Fire||Acres destroyed||% contained||Date Started||# of Firefighters responding|
|River Complex||198,555||67%||July 2021||902|
|Antelope Fire||145,632||95%||August 2021||318|
Source: Inciweb, Cal Fire (as of Sept. 28)
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