Update (1540ET): At least 16,000 people have been evacuated as wildfires burn across Northern California.
According to Bloomberg, the Dixie Fire, which has burned more than 322,000 acres is 35% contained, may have been sparked by utility giant PG&E Corp.'s power lines.
The fire ripped through Greenville on Wednesday night, tearing through the small town about 115 miles northeast of Sacramento.
"We lost Greenville," U.S. Congressman Doug LaMalfa, who represents the area, said in a video statement. "We have to stop making this happen."
Another fire is brewing 60 miles south of what is left of Greenville. The blaze is called the "River Fire" and has burned more than 2,400 acres and destroyed 50 buildings.
News of PG&E's faulty equipment could be behind the Dixie Fire sent shares tumbling on Thursday, down more than 3.5%. Since Tuesday, shares are down nearly 7%.
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Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.
As The Epoch Times' Isabel van Brugen reports, the Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, which has been burning for more than three weeks, tore through a small mountain community on Wednesday evening, destroying businesses and homes as intense winds fueled the blaze.
A gas station, hotel, and bar in Greenville, Northern California, were spotted burned to the ground by a photographer on assignment for The Associated Press. According to Plumas News, the community’s library and a bank were destroyed in the blaze.
The historic town in Plumas County is home to just over 2,100 residents.
“If you are still in the Greenville area, you are in imminent danger and you MUST leave now!!” the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook earlier Wednesday.
“Evacuate to the south to Quincy. If you remain, emergency responders may not be able to assist you.”
“I’ve been here since 1973 and I’ve never, ever been through anything like this,” said supervisor Kevin Goss, who represents the Greenville area and owns a business downtown, reported Plumas News.
Battalion Chief Sergio Mora watches as the Dixie Fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2021. (Noah Berger/AP Photo)
The three-week-old fire, now the 8th-largest blaze in California history, has grown to over 428 square miles (1,108 square kilometers) across Plumas and Butte counties. Firefighters had been trying to protect the town of 800 about 280 miles (450 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco by clearing debris from roads and marking hazards.
The destruction came amid a red flag warning issued by forecasters warning of hot, bone-dry conditions with winds up to 40 mph (64 kph). That could drive flames through timber, brush, and grass, especially along the northern and northeastern sides of the vast Dixie Fire.
Firefighters were able to save homes and hold large stretches of the blaze. But flames jumped perimeter lines in a few spots Tuesday, prompting additional evacuation orders for about 15,000 people east of Lake Almanor, fire officials said.
The heat from the flames created a pyrocumulus cloud, a massive column of smoke that rose 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) in the air, said Mike Wink, a state fire operations section chief.
The fire has threatened thousands of homes and destroyed 67 houses and other buildings since breaking out on July 14. It was 35 percent contained.
Pandora Valle, a spokesperson with the U.S. Forest Service told the San Francisco Chronicle shortly after 8 p.m. on Wednesday that “firefighters are fighting for the town of Greenville.” She added that no further information about the extent of the fire’s damage was immediately available.