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Greenville residents return to remains of their homes after Dixie Fire

Devastated Greenville residents have returned to find what is left of their homes, as the evacuation order was finally lifted one month after the Dixie Fire tore through the California town.  

Homeowners choked back tears Saturday as they surveyed the charred rubble of their houses, burned out cars and the remains of their worldly possessions left behind by the second-largest and 14th most destructive wildfire in California history. 

Plumas County Sheriff’s Office lifted the mandatory evacuation order on the Greenville area Friday, deeming the area safe from active fire and hazards. 

However, even for those whose homes remain intact, the Gold Rush-era town still has no clean running water or internet, landline phone service or basic services.     

Devastated Greenville residents returned to find what is left of their homes Saturday, as the evacuation order was finally lifted one month after the Dixie Fire tore through the California town

Riley Cantrell is comforted by her boyfriend Bradley Fairbanks as they surveyed what's left of her mother's home. The Cantrell's family dog died at the home and was buried by firefighters who later found it

Riley Cantrell is comforted by her boyfriend Bradley Fairbanks as they surveyed what’s left of her mother’s home. The Cantrell’s family dog died at the home and was buried by firefighters who later found it

Residents Cody Najera (right) and Arizona Erb (left) looked through the remains of their burned home in Greenville

Residents Cody Najera (right) and Arizona Erb (left) looked through the remains of their burned home in Greenville

Deer wandered through the burned rubble where homes once stood in the small mountain town where just 1,000 people live

Deer wandered through the burned rubble where homes once stood in the small mountain town where just 1,000 people live

Dozens of properties have been reduced to rubble by the Dixie Fire which is the second-largest and 14th most destructive wildfire in California history

Dozens of properties have been reduced to rubble by the Dixie Fire which is the second-largest and 14th most destructive wildfire in California history

Tests of the water in the Indian Valley Community Services District has revealed it contains harmful chemicals including the cancer-causing chemical benzene.

Residents are being warned the water is not safe to drink – even if boiled – and they should only use bottled water until told otherwise.

Few basic services are available, with no pharmacy or ability to refill prescriptions, no gas stations and food services delayed with one local store, Gigi’s Market in Crescent Mills, open.

Power has been restored to the area and cell towers should be fully functional so cellphones can be used.  

The sheriff’s office urged residents to exercise extreme caution if returning to the area, warning that disturbing debris could be hazardous. 

Greenville is a small mountain town about 125 miles northwest of Reno, Nevada, home to just 1,000 people. 

Homeowners choked back tears Saturday as they surveyed the charred rubble of their houses, burned out cars and the remains of their worldly possessions left behind by the blaze

Homeowners choked back tears Saturday as they surveyed the charred rubble of their houses, burned out cars and the remains of their worldly possessions left behind by the blaze

Plumas County Sheriff's Office lifted the mandatory evacuation order on the Greenville area Friday, deeming the area safe from active fire and hazards

Plumas County Sheriff’s Office lifted the mandatory evacuation order on the Greenville area Friday, deeming the area safe from active fire and hazards

Resident Wendy Weight crouches down as she surveys the burned remains of her home in Greenville, California, Saturday

Resident Wendy Weight crouches down as she surveys the burned remains of her home in Greenville, California, Saturday

Curtis Weight said he was about scheduled to close escrow on the sale of his now burned-down home when it was scorched

Curtis Weight said he was about scheduled to close escrow on the sale of his now burned-down home when it was scorched

The blaze has burned 889,001 acres or 1,389 square miles across Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta and Tehama counties

The blaze has burned 889,001 acres or 1,389 square miles across Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta and Tehama counties

It was almost completely destroyed by the Dixie Fire – the state’s second-largest fire in history which continues to rage across the state almost two months after it first ignited. 

The blaze has burned 889,001 acres or 1,389 square miles across Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta and Tehama counties – destroying an area more than twice the size of Los Angeles.  

It is still only 56 percent contained with 6,163 structures still under threat from the fire and thousands of people still under evacuation orders.   

A deer is seen among the rubble. Even for those whose homes remain intact, the Gold Rush-era town still has no clean running water or internet, landline phone service or basic services

A deer is seen among the rubble. Even for those whose homes remain intact, the Gold Rush-era town still has no clean running water or internet, landline phone service or basic services

A burned US Post Office truck sits charred in Greenville, California on September 4 as the evacuation order was lifted

A burned US Post Office truck sits charred in Greenville, California on September 4 as the evacuation order was lifted

Residents are being warned the water is not safe to drink - even if boiled - and they should only use bottled water

Residents are being warned the water is not safe to drink – even if boiled – and they should only use bottled water

The sheriff's office urged residents to exercise extreme caution if returning to the area, warning that disturbing debris could be hazardous

The sheriff’s office urged residents to exercise extreme caution if returning to the area, warning that disturbing debris could be hazardous

The historic blaze also claimed the life of its first victim Saturday, with Cal Fire confirming in its daily incident report that a first responder has died.

Three other first responders have been injured, with no other details provided at this time. 

The Dixie Fire first ignited on July 13 in the Feather River Canyon near Cresta Dam.

Utility company PG&E later said its equipment may have started the fire following a malfunction with one of its utility poles.  

A firefighter lights backfires to slow the spread of the Dixie Fire Friday near the town of Greenville, California, August 6

A firefighter lights backfires to slow the spread of the Dixie Fire Friday near the town of Greenville, California, August 6

A firefighter tackles the blaze in Greenville August 6 - two days after it reached the mountain town forcing an evacuation

A firefighter tackles the blaze in Greenville August 6 – two days after it reached the mountain town forcing an evacuation

Dozens of burned vehicles rest in heavy smoke during the Dixie fire in Greenville August as the fire nearly wiped out the town

Dozens of burned vehicles rest in heavy smoke during the Dixie fire in Greenville August as the fire nearly wiped out the town

The fire reached Greenville on August 4, nearly wiping out the town and forcing residents to evacuate to makeshift camps.  

The Dixie Fire is now only smaller than one past wildfire that rocked California – the 2020 August Complex which burned over 1 million acres. 

About 65 miles south of the Dixie Fire, the Caldor Fire is also currently ravaging the state.

Firefighters are making progress in bringing the blaze under control in South Lake Tahoe with residents hoping for a chance to also return home soon.  

The fire began August 14 and has burned more than 213,270 acres and destroyed nearly 900 homes, businesses and other buildings. 


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