SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — A firefighter has died of an illness while assigned to one of California’s largest wildfires, authorities said Sunday, marking the first death in a season that has seen blazes destroy thousands of buildings and force entire towns to flee.
Fire officials announced the death this weekend but didn't provide details.
The Dixie Fire began in mid-July in the northern Sierra Nevada and is the second-largest wildfire in recorded state history. It has burned nearly 1,400 square miles in five counties and three national parks and forests, according to Cal Fire.
Three firefighters have been injured battling the blaze, which was 56% contained after destroying nearly 1,300 homes and other buildings.
South of the Dixie Fire, the Caldor Fire remained only a few miles from the popular resort of Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border. About 22,000 residents of South Lake Tahoe were ordered to evacuate last week.