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As smoke clears, aircraft can help combat California wildfires

More than two dozen helicopters, two air tankers and other aircraft will be able to fly again under the new clear skies. This will make it easier for ground crews to maneuver.

"With this type of weather, fire activity should pick up." Ryan Bain, a fire spokesperson, said that we can still get aircraft up.

The winds were not expected at the speed that caused the fire to explode last week. They were still a concern to firefighters who had to work in extreme conditions to save thousands of homes at risk.

The fire sparked by strong winds and bone-dry vegetation and incinerated large parts of Greenville's small community last Wednesday and Thursday. On Monday, 627 homes and other structures were destroyed. Another 14,000 buildings were still at risk in the northern Sierra Nevada.

Officials stated that damage reports are preliminary as assessment teams cannot reach many areas.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Dixie Fire, named after the road it began nearly four weeks ago, reached an area of 765 miles (1,980 km2) by Sunday evening. It was only 21% contained. It had scorched an area twice as large as New York City.

After being struck by a branch, four firefighters were brought to the hospital. Although more than 30 people were reported as missing at first, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office was able to locate all of them by Monday.

Crews that were directly attacking the front lines of the fire would have to retreat now that smoke has cleared, according to Dan McKeague, a U.S Forest Service fire information officer.

This blaze was the largest single fire ever recorded in California history and it eclipsed the Creek Fire last year in the central valley agricultural area.

The Dixie Fire is half the size the August Complex. It's a series lightning-caused 2020 fires that were fought in seven counties. Officials consider it California's largest wildfire.

Investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire. Pacific Gas & Electric believes the fire was started by a tree that fell on one its power lines. A federal judge ordered PG&E to provide details by August 16 regarding the equipment and the vegetation that caused the fire.

Gov. Gavin Newsom reviewed the damage to Greenville over the weekend and wrote on Twitter that his heart aches for the town.

Newsom stated on CNN that these are climate-induced wildfires. He also said that the country has the ability to resolve this problem.

Wildfires in the American West are now more difficult to combat due to heat waves and droughts that have been linked to climate change. According to scientists, climate change has made the region warmer and dryer over the past 30 year and will continue making the weather extremes and wildfires more destructive.

Two fires continued to grow northwest of the Dixie Fire, Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Hundreds of homes were still at risk. The McFarland Fire contained about 25% of its victims. Residents living near the Monument Fire were given new evacuation orders Monday. It was about 3% contained.

South of the Dixie Fire firefighters stopped further growth by the River Fire. It broke out Wednesday close to Colfax and destroyed 68 houses.

The smoke from wildfires in the U.S. West continues circulating into Colorado and Utah. Many areas were rated unhealthy by the EPA. Although Denver's air quality improved over Sunday, the smoke made it among the worst air in the world.

California's fire season could surpass that of last year, which was the worst ever recorded in state history.

According to state fire statistics, over 6,000 fires have destroyed more 1,260 sq miles (3,260 km) of land since the beginning of the year. This is more than three times the loss for the same period in 2020.

California's wildfires are among the 107 that have been burning in 14 states. Most of them were located in the West where drought conditions have made it difficult for land to be ignited.

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