California firefighter battling Dixie Fire dies, officials say

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A first responder has died in California while battling the second-largest wildfire in state history, fire officials said Saturday.

The fatality was reported Saturday evening in Cal Fire’s incident update about the devastating Dixie Fire burning above the Cresta Dam near Feather River Canyon in Butte, Plumas, Lassen and Tehama Counties.

While Cal Fire did not release additional details about the death in the update, a representative for the agency told FOX40 Sacramento that the individual was suffering from a previous illness. No details about the illness were given.

While the victim was not immediately identified, the representative said the first responder was an assistant fire engine operator with the Lassen National Forest and had died on Saturday.

Three other first responders have been injured battling the blaze that first broke out on July 13. No civilian deaths or injuries have been reported, according to Cal Fire.

The Dixie Fire burns down a hillside towards Diamond Mountain Rd. near Taylorsville in Plumas County, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. 
((AP Photo/Noah Berger))

The Dixie Fire is the second-largest wildfire in state history, having consumed at least 889,001 acres. It is 56% contained, fire officials said.

The fire has destroyed at least 1,282 homes, businesses, and other structures.

The Dixie Fire was about 65 miles north of the Caldor Fire, which threatened Lake Tahoe, and was one of the dozens of California blazes that more than 15,000 firefighters were battling.

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