A wind-driven wildfire tore through a northern California mountain town, leaving much of the downtown in ashes and crews braced for another explosive run of flames in the midst of dangerous weather. The Dixie Fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40mph gusts, raged through the northern Sierra Nevada town of Greenville Wednesday evening. Fire officials confirmed that some buildings were destroyed but had no details. However, a photographer on assignment for the AP described seeing a gas station, hotel, and bar burned to the ground. The town, which dates to California’s Gold Rush era, has some buildings more than a century old.
As the fire’s north and eastern sides exploded, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued a Facebook posting warning the town’s approximately 800 residents: “You are in imminent danger and you MUST leave now!” The three-week-old blaze, the state’s largest wildfire, had blackened well over 435 square miles and burned dozens of homes before making its new run. Early in the week, some 5,000 firefighters had made progress on the blaze, saving some threatened homes, bulldozing pockets of unburned vegetation, and managing to surround a third of the perimeter. "We did everything we could," firefighter Capt. Mitch Matlow said. "Sometimes it’s just not enough."
(Read more California wildfires