Dixie Fire becomes third-largest single wildfire in California history as nearly 467K acres burn

GREENVILLE, Calif. — Northern California’s Dixie Fire catapulted past Oregon’s Bootleg Fire on Friday to become the largest wildfire burning in the United States and the third-largest in California history.

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By mid-morning Saturday, the blaze, which began three weeks ago, had scorched 446,723 acres and was only 21% contained, a considerably lower containment figure than the 35% reported Friday that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection attributed to improved mapping capabilities.

“This is going to be a long firefight,” CalFire spokesman Capt. Mitch Matlow told The Associated Press.

The fire, which has ravaged Butte, Lassen, Plumas and Tehama counties and leveled the historic Greenville community, has destroyed at least 67 structures, including homes, NBC News reported.

“This fire is so intense that I think we’re learning as a community, as a region, that this is not a normal fire. It’s a beast,” Shelton Douthit, executive director of the Feather River Land Trust, told the AP.

Although it is the largest current wildfire raging, the Dixie Fire remains one of 100 active, large fires burning in 14 - primarily western - U.S. states.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dixie Fire now encompasses more than 679 square miles, an area “considerably larger than the city of Los Angeles.”

No injuries or deaths have been reported, but the fire continued to threaten more than 10,000 homes Friday.

The Dixie Fire ignited July 13 in Feather River Canyon near a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power station. PG&E has said its equipment might be to blame and might also have started a separate fire nine days later that eventually merged with the Dixie Fire, the Times reported.

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- The Associated Press contributed to this report.