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Residents warned to get ready to go as California fire grows

July 14, 2021 GMT
Air tanker drops fire retardant to battle the Dixie Fire in the Feather River Canyon in Plumas County, Calif.,on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Residents were warned to be ready to evacuate as a growing wildfire bears down on two remote Northern California communities near a town largely destroyed by a deadly blaze three years ago. The fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon has chewed through more than 1.8 square miles (4.8 square kilometers) of brush and timber near the Feather River Canyon area of Butte County. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)
Air tanker drops fire retardant to battle the Dixie Fire in the Feather River Canyon in Plumas County, Calif.,on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Residents were warned to be ready to evacuate as a growing wildfire bears down on two remote Northern California communities near a town largely destroyed by a deadly blaze three years ago. The fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon has chewed through more than 1.8 square miles (4.8 square kilometers) of brush and timber near the Feather River Canyon area of Butte County. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP)

PULGA, Calif. (AP) — Residents were warned Wednesday to be ready to evacuate as a growing wildfire bears down on two remote Northern California communities near a town largely destroyed by a deadly blaze three years ago.

The fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon has chewed through more than 1.8 square miles (4.8 square kilometers) of brush and timber near the Feather River Canyon area of Butte County.

There was zero containment of the Dixie Fire and officials said people in Pulga and east Concow should prepare to leave at a moment’s notice. Flames raced along hillsides on the western edge of the Plumas National Forest about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Paradise, the foothill town devastated by a 2018 wildfire that killed 85 people.

Air tankers aided firefighters on the ground who hiked through steep terrain.

The cause of the fire wasn’t known.

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Further north, progress was reported on California’s largest fire so far this year. The Beckwourth Complex, a combined pair of lighting-ignited blazes, was more than 70% contained Wednesday after blackening 145 square miles (375 square kilometers) near the Nevada state line.

Damage was still being tallied in the rural community of Doyle, California, where flames swept in last weekend and destroyed several homes,

Blazes in California, Oregon and Washington state were among nearly 70 active wildfires that have destroyed homes and burned through more than 1,500 square miles (4,000 square kilometers) in a dozen mostly Western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Extremely dry conditions and heat waves tied to climate change have swept the region, making wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the American West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.