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buy apple developer account (buyappleacc.com):Strong gusts, arid conditions stoke growing California wildfires

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GRIZZLY FLATS, Calif. -An incendiary mix of strong, shifting winds and drought-parched vegetation stoked two of California's largest wildfires on Wednesday, with thousands of residents chased from their foothill and mountain homes in the Sierra Nevada range.

The blazes swelled as the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), initiated deliberate power shutoffs to 48,000 homes and businesses across northern California. PG&E said it acted to reduce wildfire risks posed by possible wind damage to transmission lines.

The Dixie fire, raging since mid-July in the rugged Sierra Nevada range northeast of San Francisco, grew by more than 30,000 acres (12,140 hectares) to 635,000 acres (256,975 hectares) of tinder-dry vegetation as of Wednesday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

That tally was up 65,000 acres (26,304 hectares) from Monday, Cal Fire said.

The Dixie wildfire is the second-largest ever recorded in California and the largest by far among the scores roaring across the Western United States in a highly incendiary summer that experts see as symptomatic of climate change.

California, which typically experiences peak fire season later in the year, was on pace to suffer even more burnt acreage this year than last year, the worst fire season on record.

Winds gusts shifted from southwest to northeast causing the Dixie fire to grow on Tuesday, but containment lines held overnight, said Edwin Zuniga, a Cal Fire spokesman. The fire, 33% contained, threatened the rural town of Mineral, whose 125 residents were ordered to evacuate late on Tuesday night.

"We're just hoping when we go back home there's something to go to," Mineral resident Clark Tomlinson told local television Action News Now.

The fire has destroyed at least 1,200 homes and other structures. Another 16,000 buildings were listed as threatened, with about 29,000 residents having to evacuate communities across the area.

The National Weather Service predicted wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour (64 km per hour) and humidity to drop to 15% through Thursday.

The conditions also fanned the Caldor fire, which grew from about 6,500 acres (2,630 hectares) to more than 52,000 acres (21,043 hectares) in 24 hours, according to Cal Fire.

The unchecked fire, about 65 miles (105 km) east of Sacramento, blew into the El Dorado County mountain hamlet of Grizzly Flats, a town of 1,200 people, torching an elementary school, a post office and dozens of homes on Tuesday.

The Caldor fire has forced more than 11,000 people to evacuate this week from several towns including Kyburz, Pollock Pines and Somerset, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services said. REUTERS


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