Dozens of lightning-sparked wildfires in California grew rapidly on Thursday, causing tens of thousands of residents to leave homes in the San Francisco Bay Area. In nearly two decades, California has been struck by its worst lightning storms, with about 11,000 strikes igniting over 370 fires this week, and pushing firefighting resources to the limit, authorities said. In the North Bay wine country about 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Sacramento, at least nine fires raged through hills and mountains and burned over 105 homes and other buildings.
Together they have risen to 131,000 acres (53,000-hectares) since Wednesday, creating a 10-fold larger “megafire” than the Manhattan Island of New York spanning Napa, Yolo, Solano and two other counties. According to fire authority Cal Fire, collectively known as the LNU Complex Fire, they sent wind-driven flames racing 120 feet a minute through grassland parched by record-breaking, triple-digit heat.
As per a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) spokeswoman, a Vacaville PG&E utility worker died Wednesday helping first responders, and at least four civilians were injured. A firefighting helicopter crashed in central California in Fresno County on Wednesday. It is about 160 miles (260 km) south of San Francisco killing contract pilot Mike Fournier, 52. He is a former TV pilot and high school football coach, his family said.
Locals Injured in California Fire
South of San Francisco, a cluster of lightning strike fires in San Mateo. Also, Santa Cruz counties about 13 miles south of Palo Alto doubled in size to 40,000 acres. Thus, injuring three first responders, forcing 22,000 to evacuate and destroying 20 structures, CalFire said. Another group of 20 fires, called the SCU Lightning Complex. Also, jumped through four counties on Thursday nearly a third to around 140,000 acres. Also, some 20 miles east of Palo Alto, injuring two first responders.
Since the start of the twentieth century, California has warmed 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, higher temperatures blame for longer. Thus, more intense fire seasons which have caused eight of its 10 biggest wildfires in the last 15 years. Governor Gavin Newsom called for 375 out-of-state fire crews as resources ran thin. Also, in part as prisoners normally conscripted for firefighting. It locks up for COVID-19 or releases from prison to slow the spread of the virus.
To the east of drought-stricken Colorado, it is the state’s second-largest wildfire in history. It grew slightly to 121,781 acres. Thus, containment ticking up to 14 per cent as it burned up in remote mountains. It is near Grand Junction, about 190 miles west of Denver.