Newsom was, of course, referring to the historically-large wildfires all up and down the state, two of which were the second and third largest ever recorded.
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CA FIRES UPDATE:
– Over 13,000 lightning strikes
– 625 fires
– 17 major fires, including some of largest in CA history
– Over 1.2 million acres burned (nearly size of Grand Canyon)
Thank you to all the states that have offered mutual aid to help CA battle these historic fires.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) August 24, 2020
“At this stage last year, we had 42 wildfires that burned bout 56,000 acres,” said the governor. “Today, we’ve had over 7,000 wildfires burning 1.4 million acres.”
“We’ve burnt 1.2 million acres since just a week or so ago,” he said, before noting the state as seen 10 new fires overnight. (A Cal Fire tweet said those 1.2 million acres have been scorched since August 15.) There are now a total of 625 fires now being battled across the state.
Most of those fires were created by lightning strikes. The state saw close to 300 lightning strikes in the last 24 hours,” reported the governor.
“We’ve lost 7 lives so far and over 1,200 reported structures. There’s no question there are more structures that have been damaged.”
The state had 14,000 firefighters working and 2,400 engines as of Monday.
The latest numbers on the Aug. Lightning Siege that has charred 1.2 million acres since Aug. 15. We are grateful for the 91 fire engines from Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Utah, Washington to assist us in battling more than 2 dozen major wildfires. pic.twitter.com/h3Bj1SyUf3
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 24, 2020
The governor said conditions weren’t as bad as some expected overnight, but the Sierras and eastern part of state still face “challenging” weather. “We’re sill seeing lightning strikes,” he said, and there are a lot of ‘sleeper fires’ we will begin to discover as our reconnaissance flights continue.”
As for specific fires:
-The LNU complex fire in 5 counties, including Napa, has burned 350,000 acres. It is now the second largest blaze ever recorded in California and was 22 percent contained as of Monday morning.
-The CZU complex fire in Santa Cruz has scorched 78,000 acres and is 13 percent contained.
-The SCU complex fire in and around Santa Clara County is currently the 3rd largest blaze the state has ever seen. At 347,000 acres, it is just behind the LNU fire and 10 percent contained.
-The August Fire in Mendocino has blackened 178,000 acres. Newsom said repeatedly that this was “primarily a grass fire,” but “a major fire” nonetheless. It was 11 percent contained.
Newsom called people who have been caught breaking into evacuated buildings “disgraceful and disgusting,” saying they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He then commended police and sheriffs for their vigilance: “I want to thank law enforcement.”
Watch Governor Newsom’s news conference below.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) August 24, 2020
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