GREENVILLE, Calif. — People were living in the scenic forestlands of Northern California found themselves facing a weekend of fear as wildfires threatened to reduce thousands of homes to ashes.
The Dixie Fire that incinerated much of the gold rush-era town of Greenville threatened more than 10,000 buildings in the northern Sierra Nevada. It had engulfed an area larger than the size of New York City.
According to the state Department of Fire and Forestry Protection, it was the most significant current wildland blaze in the nation and the third-largest in recorded California history.
Wind-driven flames destroyed dozens of homes and most of Greenville’s downtown on Wednesday and Thursday and also heavily damaged Canyondam, a hamlet with a population of about three dozen people. The fire reached Chester, but crews managed to protect homes and businesses there, officials said.