PARADISE, Calif. — California’s largest wildfire so far this year was flaring up Friday. Still, it was because the flames were chewing through unburned islands of vegetation within a perimeter that firefighters have built, authorities said.
The Dixie Fire covered 376 square miles (974 square kilometers) in the mountains of Northern California, where 42 homes and other buildings have been destroyed, and more than 10,000 are still threatened.
The vegetation burning inside the fire on Thursday produced a huge “fire cloud,” towering columns of smoke and ash that could pose a danger to firefighters. Residents were given assurances that it had been expected and would happen again, but it did not mean crews were losing control of the fire.
“There’s nothing close to our line right now. It’s all interior fuels burning,” Mike Wink, an incident commander, said in an online briefing. The fire northeast of the town of Paradise, which was largely destroyed in 2018 by the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century, has been burning since July 13 and is more than 20% contained.
Meanwhile, concerns over the risk of rolling outages in the coming weeks prompted California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign an emergency proclamation on Friday that offers cash incentives to significant energy users such as factories or casinos to conserve when the power supply is tight.
The state could face a shortage of 3,500 megawatts on days when soaring heat drives up demand. That’s partly because an intensifying drought has reduced water levels in reservoirs and diminished output from the hydroelectric dams.