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The Dixie fire is now California’s second biggest wildfire, and it’s not over yet

Highway 89 with burned trees on one side and unburned trees on the other at the site of the Dixie Fire, a wildfire near the town of Greenville, California
Reuters
Highway 89 with burned trees on one side and unburned trees on the other at the site of the Dixie Fire, a wildfire near the town of Greenville, California.
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The Dixie fire blazed through the northern Sierra Nevada mountains and now consumes an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. The fire began on July 13 and continues to grow, having burned 16,000 acres alone through the evening of Aug. 7.

This weekend’s growth made Dixie the second largest wildfire in California history, surpassing the Mendocino Complex fire of July 2018. The top eight biggest wildfires in California have all occurred since 2017, and have notably worsened in the past couple of years.

As the Dixie fire continues to burn it could become the largest wildfire on record in California.

When will the Dixie fire be contained?

Fueled by strong winds and dry vegetation, only 21% of the Dixie fire is currently contained.

Though firefighters are making progress, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection estimates the fire won’t be fully contained until Aug. 20.

Climate change and California’s wildfires

While climate change has led to more frequent and devastating wildfires, some experts believe that California now has a new climate entirely. The majority of counties in the state are also experiencing drought, and Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist from Stanford University, told ABC7 News in June that he believes all years are warm years in California now as a result of global warming.

As devastating as the Dixie Fire is, it will not be California’s last fire this year. Meanwhile, neighboring fires pose an ongoing threat. The River fire, Monument fire, McFarland fire, and Antelope fire are also currently blazing in northern California.

In 2020, California had 10,431 wildfires with a total of more than 4 million acres burned. The state is currently on track to surpass those numbers in 2021.

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