Thousands of homes in Northern California remain threatened by the nation’s largest wildfire as unstable weather creates a high danger of new blazes erupting across the West.
Weekend thunderstorms across the northern Sierra didn’t produce much rain, instead whipping up winds and unleashing lightning strikes that that bedeviled the more than 6,000 firefighters trying to contain the month-old Dixie Fire amid temperatures forecast to top 100 degrees (38 Celsius).
“We’re definitely still dealing with the possibility of lightning. Winds are all over the place. Things are going to be pretty unstable for the next couple days,” said fire spokesman Edwin Zuniga.
Gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph) on Saturday pushed flames closer to Janesville, a town of about 1,500 people just east of Greenville, the small gold rush-era community decimated by the fire 10 days ago.
James Reichle evacuated from Greenville and has been sleeping with his dog in a trailer outside a church. His home survived the flames but he’s been unable to return because the roads are closed. He said he feels for his neighbors at the evacuation center who lost everything.