NewsWildfire Watch


Historic California wildfires leave 7 people dead, more than 1M acres burned

CBS California Wildfires
Posted at 11:11 AM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 14:26:34-04

California continues to be ravaged by hundreds of wildfires, including two of the largest fires in its history.

At least seven people have died, and more than 1.2 million acres have burned, which is a combined area almost the size of the Grand Canyon.

The fires have displaced nearly 200,000 Californians. Nearly 1.5 million acres are in the firefighting lines, and some attacks can only be done by air due to rugged terrain.

The largest of the wildfires, dubbed the LNU Lightning Complex fire, is burning in the counties of Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Solano. Cal Fire reports the flames have scorched more than 350,000 acres as of Monday and is 22% contained.

Coming in at a close second is the SCU Lightning Complex fire, which has burned more than 347,000 acres and is 10% contained. That blaze is burning in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

Included in the carnage are the state's oldest skyscrapers — redwoods that have lived hundreds of years. Officials said hundreds of the trees have been destroyed in what has been a historic and deadly nine days.

Overnight, 10 more fires started after lightning struck again. "It's a tough day today. The hot dry winds may hamper some of our control efforts," said Cal Fire Incident Commander Jeremy Rahn.

A Red Flag warning that was set to expire Monday at 5 p.m. for the Bay Area was canceled earlier in the day since most of the moisture moved north and instability decreased, according to the National Weather Service.

Monday has been a tough day filled with risk for 14,000 firefighters deployed — 96% of California's fighting force. Statewide, 1,200 structures have been destroyed and another 30,000 remain threatened. Fire crews said it could take weeks to extinguish all the flames.

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.