Newsom Declares State of Emergency In CA As Wildfires Rage

Newsom Declares State of Emergency In CA As Wildfires Rage

Tens of thousands of homes were threatened by flames that drove through dense and bone-dry trees and brush. Scores of burned homes.

Speaking to supporters in Pennsylvania on Thursday, he said he had told state officials: "You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests - there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they're like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up". They pleaded with residents to be ready to evacuate when ordered because they place firefighters in danger when crews have to protect those staying behind.

Cal Fire has expanded the evacuation order to include areas in San Joaquin County. The humidity has been dropping at night, "and that's allowing the fire to burn all day and all night long".

Three major complexes encompassing dozens of fires chewed through a combined 770 square miles (1,994 square kilometres) of forests, canyons and rural areas north, east and south of San Francisco Bay.

The state is also dealing with extreme heat.

Still, Cal Fire Division Chief Charlie Blankenheim said firefighters are making steady progress.

California was hit by almost 11 000 lightning strikes in 72 hours, sparking 367 fires, with over 50 structures destroyed in Northern California. The concern is the wind would push the fire over the Nelson Hill area. A PG&E utility worker died on Wednesday helping first responders and at least four civilians were injured, according to a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) spokeswoman.

"We are challenged right now by the number of new fires all over the state of California", Newsom said.

Still, officials said it's not almost enough.

Cal Fire officials said the many blazes of the LNU Lightning Complex had begun to merge together to create a massive inferno.

But normal seems a thing of the past.

The Lassen County prison, where more than 159 inmates tested positive for the disease in the span of 14 days, served as a training center for fire crews. Several of the fires had merged by nightfall. Meanwhile, erratic gusts are spreading embers that ignite still more fires.

The fire had consumed almost 194 square miles Wednesday night, an area larger than the size of San Jose.

An estimated 3,600 county residents are affected, said a representative from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. It's an extraordinary expanse, reflecting the state's caution after seeing so many fatalities in the past few fire seasons and witnessing the stunning ferocity of the one underway.

Areas that had been put on notice to prepare for possible evacuation orders are now being evacuated.

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