Dixie Fireplace, nonetheless raging, is now California’s second-largest wildfire ever By Reuters

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© Reuters. A firefighter extinguishes a fire in the base of a tree that was felled while fighting the Dixie Fire near Chester, California, the United States, August 7, 2021. REUTERS / Fred Greaves

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(Reuters) – A raging wildfire in Northern California is now the second largest in the state’s history, officials said Sunday, days after the fire destroyed a historic gold mining town and forced the evacuation of thousands.

The Dixie fire had grown to more than 463,000 acres or 1,876 square kilometers by 9 a.m. (1600 GMT) Sunday morning and was 21% contained, according to the state fire department. The area burned is larger than the city of Houston.

Only the August 2020 Complex Fire, which consumed more than 1 million acres, was larger.

So far, no deaths have been attributed to the forest fire. According to the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, five people were missing on Saturday afternoon; two of them had been reported safe, although officers were still working on confirmation at the time.

The fire threatens nearly 14,000 buildings, officials said, and has already destroyed more than 400, including virtually all of downtown Greenville, an old mining town about 160 miles north of Sacramento.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Pacific Gas & Electric said it could have started when a tree fell on one of the utility’s power lines.

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