The Dixie fire has destroyed Greenville, a historic Sierra Nevada town that dates back to California's Gold Rush era

·3 min read
dixie fire
Flames from the Dixie Fire consume a home on Highway 89 south of Greenville on August 5, 2021, in Plumas County, California. AP Photo/Noah Berger
  • The Dixie fire has destroyed Greenville, a historic Gold Rush town in the Sierra Nevada.

  • The blaze gutted wooden buildings that were preserved since the 1800s.

  • The Dixie fire has been burning since July 13.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Dixie fire, which has been burning up large swathes of land in California since July 13, has claimed the historic town of Greenville as its latest victim.

Sweeping through the town on August 4, the wildfire gutted many historical fixtures, including wooden buildings that date back to California's Gold Rush era, per the AP. This included hundred-year-old structures like a gas station, a hotel, and a museum.

The tiny Sierra Nevada town, which was partially destroyed by a fire in 1881, is home to slightly over 800 people. The town managed to preserve many buildings that were built around the gold mines in its surrounding mountains, but now, it is no more.

The AP spoke to Plumas County sheriff Tom Johns, who said that the wildfire destroyed more than 100 homes and businesses.

According to a report from the Guardian, the Dixie fire has gone on for more than three weeks and has decimated over 500 square miles of land. The Guardian noted that California's crew of over 5,000 firefighters managed to save some homes earlier this week, but Wednesday, the fire burned out of control.

The residents of Greenville were told to evacuate on August 4 by the Plumas County Sheriff's Office, which made a Facebook post saying the area's residents were in "imminent danger."

Plumas County supervisor Kevin Goss mourned the loss of the town in a Facebook post on August 5.

"On August 4, our beloved small town of Greenville, CA, faced our biggest nightmare. The Dixie fire burnt down our entire downtown. Our historical buildings, families' homes, small businesses, and our children's schools are completely lost," Goss wrote.

"Every square inch of downtown holds countless memories for each member of our small community and ample amount of history from our ancestors. I am at a loss for words, and my heart goes out to every one of you that suffered loss, evacuated and weary on what is to come," Goss added.

dixie fire greenville
All that remains of a large part of Greenville is the wreckage of burned homes and vehicles. Noah Berger/AP Photo

Insider reported on the Dixie fire last week, which was at the time considered a "megafire" and the 15th biggest blaze that California has ever seen.

An update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group on August 5 said that firefighters are still battling the fire on two fronts in an attempt to contain it.

"The Dixie fire remained extremely explosive throughout the day producing high-intensity spot fires and torching," read the update. "Pyro Cumulus clouds and shifting winds caused erratic and unpredictable fire behavior. These conditions remain elevated with very low fuel moisture, which continue to challenge control efforts. Firefighters are actively engaged in fighting fire and defending structures and critical infrastructure."

According to statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center, at press time on August 5, there were 100 active large fires still ablaze across the US. To date, there have been 38,707 fires this year, which have burned over 3.36 million acres of land.

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