California's largest fire torches more homes
Flames racing through rugged terrain in Northern California destroyed multiple homes Saturday as the state's largest wildfire intensified and numerous other blazes battered the US West. The Dixie fire, which started July 14, had already leveled over a dozen houses and other structures when it tore through the tiny community of Indian Falls after dark. An updated damage estimate was not immediately available, though fire officials said the blaze has charred more than 181,000 acres (73,200 hectares) in Plumas and Butte counties and was 20% contained. The fire was burning in a remote area with limited access, hampering firefighters’ efforts as it charged eastward, fire officials said. It has prompted evacuation orders in several small communities and along the west shore of Lake Almanor, a popular area getaway. Heavy smoke from the Dixie fire lowered visibility and may at times ground aircraft providing support for fire crews. More than 85 large wildfires were burning around the country, most of them in Western states, and they had burned over 1.4 million acres (2,135 square miles, or more than 553,000 hectares).