Weather aids containment as California wildfires reach 1.35M acres

Photo: Gephardt Daily

Aug. 28 (UPI) — Wildfires in California have burned more than 1.35 million acres as of Thursday as fire officials said crews have been able to increase containment rates.

More than 15,600 firefighters are battling more than 700 wildfires in California that have burned a collective acreage larger than the state of Delaware, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in its daily update.

In total, seven deaths have been reported and 1,890 structures have been destroyed by the fires.

A lightning siege producing more than 14,000 lightning strikes is responsible for many of the blazes and continued lightning strikes including more than two dozen in the past 24 hours have presented the possibility of more fires.

Cal Fire said, however, that seasonable weather conditions have aided firefighters in their containment efforts.

“Firefighters have increased containment at a faster rate than before as weather conditions have returned to a more predictable seasonal nature,” the agency said.

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire grew to 368,868 acres throughout Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Solano counties to become the largest of the active fires and was 33% contained on Thursday, Cal Fire said.

It has also been the most destructive of the fires, resulting in five deaths, destroying 1,080 structures and damaging 272 more.

The second largest of the active fires, the SCU Lightning Complex fire, burned 368,671 acres in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties and was 35% contained as of Thursday. It has resulted in five injuries, destroyed 37 structures and damaged six more.

The CZU August Lightning Fire in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties has burned 81,333 acres and was 21% contained and has resulted in one death, while the BTU/TGU Lightning Complex fire has burend 55,309 acres and was 30% contained.

A helicopter pilot fighting the Hills Fire in Fresno County also died last week.


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