California's Dixie Fire Has Burned More Than 700K Acres, Over 650 Homes Destroyed

The Dixie Fire in California has now burned more than 700,000 acres, leveling hundreds of homes and other structures.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, announced Friday the wildfire has grown to 700,630 acres—an increase of roughly 20,000 acres in one day.

The blaze, which began in the northern Sierra Nevada on July 14, is just 35 percent contained. Officials do not have an estimated full containment date, stating that it depends on weather and fire conditions.

Cal Fire said Friday that 652 single residences and eight multiple residencies have been torched by the Dixie Fire. More than 130 commercial structures have been destroyed so far, as well as 420 "minor structures."

More than 16,000 structures remain threatened as the fire continues to spread.
The fire decimated the Northern California mountain town Greenville earlier this month.

California’s Dixie Fire Has Burned 700K Acres
The Dixie Fire has grown to over 700,000 acres, destroying more than 650 homes. In this photo, the remains of burned out cars and a destroyed home on Hicks Road off Highway 395 during the Dixie Fire on August 17, 2021, near Janesville, California. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"We lost Greenville tonight," California Congressman Doug LaMalfa, who represents the area, said in an emotional Facebook video. "There's just no words."

The blaze is now heading toward the largest city yet: Susanville in Lassen County. Evacuation warnings have been issued for some areas near the city, including Janesville.

The U.S. Forest Service is temporarily closing nine national forests in Northern California until September 6 to better provide safety for the public and firefighters due to extreme fire conditions.

The Dixie Fire is California's second-largest wildfire in history, spreading over Butte, Plumas, Lassen and Tehama counties. The August Complex fire, which burned 1.3 million acres in 2020, is the state's largest fire ever.

Chief Thom Porter, director of Cal Fire, said in a statement Thursday that the Dixie Fire is the "first fire that we're aware of that has burned from the west side of the mountain range over into the valley floor on the east side of the mountain range.

Porter added, "We don't have any record of that happening before."

Crews fighting the blaze in the west zone reported that the fire remained active overnight Thursday with tree torching, but humidity value rose enough to limit the fire's progression in the early morning Friday.

"Damage assessment is ongoing, and the number of damaged and destroyed structures may change as teams are able to access the fire area safely," Cal Fire said in an update.

In the east zone, crews are being challenged by fire spots outside the containment line. Firefighters in that zone are also facing "steep, inaccessible terrain."

There are currently 12,461 firefighters and personnel on the ground in California as the state contends with more than a dozen active wildfires. The fires have burned approximately 1.4 million acres of land so far, according to Cal Fire.

The California National Guard has also sent nearly 1,000 service members to fire missions in the air and on the ground.

"We're seeing very gusty winds and are seeing it combined with dry conditions and record drought, making this a very, very dangerous and severe situation," Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said in a statement on Thursday.