QUINCY, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters battling flames in Northern California forests girded Monday for new bouts of windy weather, and a utility warned thousands of customers it might cut their electricity to prevent new fires from igniting if gusts damage power lines.
Conditions that suppressed the huge Dixie Fire overnight were expected to give way late in the day to winds that could push flames toward mountain communities in a region where drought and summer heat have turned vegetation to tinder.
“In this environment any type of wind, no matter what direction — especially the way the fire’s been going — is a concern for everyone,” said information officer Jim Evans.
Growing explosively at times, the Dixie Fire has scorched 890 square miles (2,305 square kilometers) in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades since it ignited on July 13 and eventually merged with a smaller blaze called the Fly Fire.
Ongoing damage surveys have counted more than 1,100 buildings destroyed, including 625 homes, and more than 14,000 structures remained threatened. Numerous evacuation orders were in effect.