The deadly wildfires ravaging California have now consumed more than 1 million acres (404,685 hectares), with two among the state's largest in recorded history.
The 339,926-acre (137,563 hectares) SCU Lightning Complex Fire, mostly east of San Jose, and the 325,128-acre (131,574 hectares) LNU Lightning Complex Fire in the north end of the Bay Area and Central Valley, are the state's second and third biggest wildfires, respectively, in history.
More than 13,000 firefighters working on the fires have had tremendous difficulties in controlling them, which have killed at least four people.
According to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesperson Steve Kaufmann, hundreds of fires were ignited by lightning, with approximately 12,000 strikes triggering 585 blazes across California in the last week.
Photo: California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
On Saturday, it was announced that the state had received a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration as a result of the fires burning in the northern portion of the state. Federal aid will be forthcoming to accompany recovery efforts in affected areas, including Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties, according to the White House.
POOR AIR QUALITY
Because of the wildfire smoke, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued air quality alerts for parts of at least six states - California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico.
The alerts say moderate to heavy smoke is expected, urging people, especially those with heart disease or respiratory illnesses, to consider remaining indoors and limiting outdoor activity.
More than 40,000 Sonoma County residents were under evacuation warnings or orders Saturday, according to state officials. As well, about 8 million people in California, southern Oregon, Montana and southern Utah were under red flag warnings.
With these red flag warnings, the NWS says "warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger."
Already California wildfires in 2020 have resulted in more deaths and destruction than in all of 2019. Last year, wildfires consumed a total of 260,000 acres (105,218 hectares) and killed three people, according to Cal Fire.
Thumbnail coutesy of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.