California Wildfires Scorch 1.25 Million Acres So Far

by Matthew Wilson
California Wildfires Scorch 1.25 Million Acres So Far

Wildfires have devastated California this month. Since August 15, firefighters have battled more than 650 wildfires, California fire officials said. Lightning has caused many of the fires. In the aftermath, the wildfires burned more than 1.25 million acres (six times the size of New York City). Additionally, the fires killed seven people and destroyed more than 1,400 buildings, according to the California fire department.

Two of the three largest wildfires in recorded state history occurred in August. East of San José, the SCU Lightning Complex Fire covers 363,000 acres. Meanwhile in the northern Bay Area, the LNU Lightning Complex Fire covers 352,900 acres. 

The weather has helped firefighters in their attempt to contain the wildfires.

Low winds and lower temperatures on Tuesday have helped sleep deprived firefighters, who have been working 24-hour shifts, in their attempts to contain the blazes.

“The weather’s really cooperating with us,” Mark Brunton, the Cal Fire operations section chief, told CNN. “We are steadily getting a trickle of resources in, and putting them to work.”

Brunton is overseeing the containment of a 78,800-acre CZU Lightning Complex Fire southwest of San Jose, in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

Parts of California are lifting their wildfire evacuation orders.

On Tuesday, Northern California lifted several wildfire evacuation orders and warnings. Additionally, Sonoma County allowed many residents to return home, and in Napa County, some evacuations were reduced to warnings. Santa Clara County have also lifted their warnings, according to the California fire department. 

However, red flag warnings, signaling potential wildfire conditions, are still in effect for areas in Northern California, Nevada, Oregon, and Montana. According to the  National Interagency Fire Center, 93 large fires, including 24 in California, have burned more than 1.8 million acres in 14 states. There have been 16 large fires in Arizona, 14 in Oregon, seven in Alaska and six in Colorado.

Smoke from the recent fires have also affected air quality in California and other states. On Tuesday, The National Weather Service issued air quality alerts in parts of California, as well as seven other Western states.

[Source: CNN]

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