Firefighters battle California blaze generating its own climate

Published : 27 Jul 2021 12:39 AM

AFP, Chico

Thousands of US firefighters are battling a blaze in California that has grown so big it is generating its own weather system, with authorities warning conditions could worsen on Monday (July 26).

The flames have grown so large that they have created clouds that can cause lightning and high winds, which in turn can serve to fuel the fire.

Around 5,400 firefighters were struggling to contain the inferno.

"It could be a challenging day tomorrow. If these clouds get tall enough, they do have the potential to produce lightning," warned Ms Julia Ruthford, the meteorologist assigned to the blaze.

The Dixie Fire has been raging in the forests of northern California since mid-July, part of a climate crisis that has brought sweltering heat and an alarming drought.

Wildfires are common in the state, but this summer has been particularly incendiary.

Fires have already ravaged three times more vegetation this year than they had at this time in 2020, the worst fire year in California's history.

Rescue workers have been dispatched from as far away as Florida to help contain the Dixie Fire and its pyrocumulus clouds.

Despite its size, the fire has so far ravaged extremely remote areas, destroying the few dozen homes and small buildings in its path.