California’s largest wildfire exploded again after burning for nearly three weeks in remote mountains and officials warned Tuesday that hot, dry weather would increase the risk of new fires across much of the state.
Firefighters saved homes Monday in the small northern California community of Greenville near the Plumas National Forest as strong winds stoked the Dixie Fire, which grew to over 395 square miles (1,024 square kilometers) across Plumas and Butte counties.
“Engines, crews and heavy equipment shifted from other areas to increase structure protection and direct line construction as the fire moved toward Greenville,” the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, said Tuesday morning.
Crews contended with dry, hot and windy conditions “and the forecast calls for the return of active fire behavior,” Cal Fire said.
Similar weather was expected across Southern California, where heat advisories and warnings were issued for interior valleys, mountains and deserts for much of the week.
Heat waves and historic drought tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.