Eight people were reported missing on Saturday after one of the worst wildfires ever recorded in the country scorched Northern California communities, forest, and tinder dry shrub in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, decimating a historic gold rush community.
Even though the weather was calmer and less windy gave firefighters an overnight break from the Dixie fire which is the third-largest in California’s history (and the third largest in California’s history), the Pulmas County Sheriff’s Office published the sombering news.
“We have received reports about eight unaccounted-for individuals,” said the sheriff’s department in a statement. They asked for the public’s assistance in finding them.
Five of the missing are from Greenville, an old mining town located 160 miles north-east of Sacramento. There, blazes destroyed most of its downtown.
Greenville is home to 800 people. It was established more than 150 years ago, when the nearby gold mines attracted settlers to the small town in the Indian Valley.
The majority of the city’s downtown was destroyed. In the town, and throughout the region, more than 184 structures were damaged.
Nearly 447,000 acres of Dixie fire have burned already. The fire was 21% contained by midafternoon according to Edwin Zuniga (firefighter, spokesperson for Cal Fire, which is the combined firefighting agencies fighting the fire).
Zuniga stated, “We are hoping to gain ground.” “There are favorable weather conditions with less wind and a layer of smoke that blocks sunlight. It permits a higher humidity, which is good for us.”
Officials stated that the fire was 35 percent contained earlier in the week. However, better mapping had clarified the area.
Although the cause of the fire has been listed as unknown, it is still under investigation.