At the Scene of the Dixie Fire

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California Today

A newsman shares stories of nonaccomplishment and uncertainty from the second-largest blaze successful authorities history. Plus, Gov. Gavin Newsom mandates vaccines for teachers.

Livia Albeck-Ripka

Aug. 12, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET


A firefighter works   to support   a operation   successful  Taylorsville.
Credit...Christian Monterrosa for The New York Times

GREENVILLE — After the Dixie occurrence tore done this distant upland town, Mike Savala heard that his location was, miraculously, inactive standing. He did not cognize the destiny of his 2 cats.

“I had the cops assistance my model up truthful they could get out, but I anticipation they did,” helium told maine Sunday, arsenic helium gingerly opened the doorway to his location for the archetypal clip since evacuating 4 days earlier.

The animals were obscurity to beryllium found.

Savala, 40, a occurrence motor captain, is among hundreds of residents successful the agrarian communities affected by the Dixie fire, immoderate of whom are opening to effort to enactment the pieces of their lives backmost together, adjacent portion remaining successful a authorities of limbo nether hazy skies and persistent evacuation orders.

Late past week, I traveled to the northeast portion of California to screen the fire, which by Wednesday, had razed much than 500,000 acres and go the 2nd largest successful authorities history. I arrived aboriginal successful the greeting nether a heavy unreality of fume to Quincy, a municipality 160 miles northbound of Sacramento.

There, the just grounds person been transformed into a structure metropolis of firefighters catching a enactment and a fewer hours of slumber earlier heading backmost to the occurrence zone. Some guesthouses person go makeshift evacuation centers, cafes into crockery kitchens.


Credit...Christian Monterrosa for The New York Times

Some successful the municipality are camped retired successful trailers portion others are holding retired connected adjacent ranches, oregon successful the dense wood — anguished by the imaginable of leaving their homes, onshore and, successful immoderate cases, the animals that are their livelihood.

“You wonderment from time to time what is going to hap next,” said Shiwaya Peck, an elder of the section Native American Maidu community, who has remained astatine her location successful an evacuated country adjacent Taylorsville, different tiny municipality adjacent the blaze.

“I don’t privation to spot my grandpa’s trees burned up,” she told maine arsenic she stood successful her plot among the fir and cedar giants.

On the frontline of the blaze, weary, soot-covered firefighters who are moving grueling two-week shifts accidental they are understaffed and exhausted. Some of the enactment involves warring occurrence with occurrence arsenic crews pain containment lines successful cooler upwind astatine night. Others stamp retired spot fires and embers. Some hike tens of miles for respective hours a day: Their lone weapons to conflict the occurrence are the tools they transportation connected their backs.

“We’re each precise tired,” said Matt Sanders, 40, a occurrence motor captain. Of the occurrence season, helium added, “I person nary uncertainty successful my caput that it’s conscionable getting started.”

As of Wednesday, the Dixie occurrence was 30 percent contained, and blistery adust conditions meant it showed nary signs of abating. Several different smaller fires were besides burning crossed California — wherever the occurrence play is increasing successful magnitude each year, according to Cal Fire.

Just miles from Quincy, the occurrence beforehand tin beryllium seen creeping down the mountainside, plumes of fume rising supra it. When the prima emerges, truthful does an ambiance of anxiety: The furniture of fume holding the flames astatine bay lifts, allowing conditions for the occurrence to worsen.


Credit...John G Mabanglo/EPA, via Shutterstock

For those experiencing the Dixie fire, it tin beryllium hard to judge their bucolic upland communities person been transformed into a hazy-skied catastrophe zone, wherever the roads successful and retired are blocked.

“I didn’t deliberation this would happen, and past it was gone,” Savala said implicit the weekend, arsenic helium surveyed the demolition successful Greenville. The past I heard, helium had inactive not recovered his cats.

For more:

This dispatch from the Dixie occurrence came from Livia Albeck-Ripka, a newsman for The New York Times, presently based successful California. Thank you, Livia, for taking america there.


Credit...Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that schoolteachers and schoolhouse unit members successful California indispensable person impervious of vaccination against Covid-19 oregon other look play testing. The caller policy, which goes into effect today, applies to educators successful nationalist and backstage schools.

California is the archetypal successful the federation to contented a vaccine mandate specifically for each educators, my workfellow Jill Cowan reports.


  • Solar mandate: California regulators voted Wednesday to necessitate builders to see star powerfulness and artillery retention successful galore caller commercialized structures arsenic good arsenic high-rise residential projects, the latest inaugural successful the state’s vigorous efforts to hasten a determination distant from fossil fuels.


  • Center for sex-trafficking victims: A erstwhile San Diego portion nine volition beryllium replaced with a caller nonprofit called the Freedom Center, which volition service arsenic a assets for sex-trafficking victims, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

  • Fines connected amerciable grows: A caller ordinance successful San Bernardino County levies increased fines connected those convicted of amerciable cannabis cultivation. The county’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the instrumentality connected Tuesday to curb marijuana increasing successful agrarian areas, The Desert Sun reports.

  • New occupation opportunities: Los Angeles County officials voted Tuesday to let the region to hire noncitizens to pb region agencies, which hadn’t been antecedently allowed, reports The Los Angeles Times. Immigrants who deficiency ineligible presumption stay ineligible to enactment for the county.

  • Water recycling: An improperly functioning Los Angeles sewage attraction works has been impacting the region’s quality to recycle h2o for the past month, The Los Angeles Times reports. As a result, millions of gallons of clean drinking h2o person been diverted amid a worsening drought.


  • Vaccinations: In Fresno County and the Central Valley, Covid-19 vaccination rates are considerably little than successful the remainder of the state. The Fresno Bee looks astatine who hasn’t been vaccinated yet.

  • Emergency rooms: Emergency rooms successful the Sacramento country are inundated, but galore patients are arriving conscionable to beryllium tested for Covid, according to The Sacramento Bee.


  • Air prime warning: The skies could beryllium smoky and hazy Thursday successful the Bay Area due to the fact that of fume from wildfires successful Northern California and Oregon, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • Stanford Covid testing: Stanford University has mandated that students surviving successful university-owned lodging submit to play Covid-19 tests, careless of vaccination status, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. It is 1 of fewer universities to follow specified a policy.

  • Cliff House: San Francisco’s famed Cliff House volition temporarily reopen for a pop-up depository showcasing artifacts from the building’s history, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.


Credit...Craig Lee for The New York Times

It takes lone 10 minutes to marque a vessel of these comforting, takeout-style sesame noodles.

Today’s California question extremity comes from Anne Anderson, a scholar who lives successful Santa Barbara. Anne writes:

We emotion to instrumentality visitors to La Purisima Mission State Historic Park successful Lompoc. You scope it on Hwy 246 from the 101 truthful you tin halt disconnected astatine wineries on the way. The tract reconstructs the conflicted and tragic past of habitation successful this area, including Chumash settlements, a reconstructed presidio with weaving, ironwork and different workshops and 1 of the astir afloat restored of the California missions.

Tell america astir the champion spots to sojourn successful California. Email your suggestions to We’ll beryllium sharing much successful upcoming editions of the newsletter.

A pistillate successful San Mateo proceeding quacking sounds coming from a adjacent tempest drain led to the rescue of 10 ducklings who had been trapped inside. The babe ducks reunited with their mother, who had been pacing nearby.

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