Bad weather could spark more wildfires in California

Bad weather could spark more wildfires in California

This video, shared by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, shows a first-person perspective of a driver navigating a roadway engulfed by flames on either side.

Most of the destruction has been caused by three large fire complexes in mountainous and wooded rural areas.

The large complex of fires straddling San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties had grown to 71,000 acres as of Sunday morning, and firefighters have achieved 8-percent containment.

Santa Cruz Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Chris Clark said when people don't heed evacuation orders, it makes it harder for firefighters to do their job and for police to protect property.

More than 14,000 fire-fighters are battling 585 fires that have now burnt almost one million acres (400,000 ha).

Almost two dozen massive wildfires continued to ravage parts of California on Saturday, fueled by high temperatures and ongoing lightning strikes, including 100 that hit on Friday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) said. Rough terrain, hot weather and the potential for thunderstorms with lightning strikes challenged firefighters' efforts to increase containment, now estimated at 52 per cent.

With more than 650,000 coronavirus cases, California also has the highest number of infections in the United States, and some evacuees have said they are afraid to go to emergency shelters. About 175,000 people were told to leave their homes, although many in the community around Vacaville between Sacramento and San Francisco have been allowed to return.

Around 560 fires are raging, including some of the largest blazes the state has ever seen.

An unwelcome change in the weather, with higher winds, temperatures and lightning is threatening to spark new wildfires in Northern California.

In comparison, about 5,000 firefighters were assigned to the Mendocino Complex fire in 2018, the largest fire in recent state history.

A firefighter rubs his head while watching the LNU Lightning Complex fires spread through the Berryessa Estates neighborhood of unincorporated Napa County, Calif., on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.

Other casualties included ancient redwood trees at California's oldest state park, Big Basin Redwoods, plus the park's headquarters and campgrounds.

Several thousand lightning strikes in recent days ignited fires that left thick smoke blanketing the region on Saturday.

A day afterGov Gavin Newsom stated almost every firefighting resource in California was fighting the blazes, President Donald Trump authorized a significant catastrophe statement on Saturday that will launch federal help to supplement healing efforts in locations impacted by the wildfires.

California Governor Gavi Newsom said "Thank you to the President for your partnership and granting this urgent Major Disaster Declaration". It was 15 percent contained.

They've burned through 2,900 square kilometres. Authorities on Saturday morning arrested five people on suspicion of looting, grand theft, burglary and conspiracy after they were stopped driving away from the Fall Creek Drive area, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said.

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