Wildfires Ravage California as More Than 60,000 People Flee & Thousands of Homes Threatened
Wildfires have been ravaging California leading to over 60,000 people leaving their homes, thousands of which have been threatened. Here is what we know.
Over 60,000 people have been evacuated after wildfires across the state of California threatened thousands of homes and have already lead to five deaths.
Hundreds of thousands of unpopulated land continue to burn, quickly moving from dry vegetation and now making its ways to the towns and cities.
NEW: As numerous #wildfires rage across California, @NOAA's #GOES17🛰️ caught this time-lapse of the #lightning between Aug 16-18 that ignited many new #fires. The satellite's #GLM sensor detected several thousand strikes across the state during 72 hrs. #CAwx #CaliforniaWildfires pic.twitter.com/pMJ1mwGdTd— NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) August 20, 2020
The fires started due to the unprecedented heatwave combined with a storm that produced over 20,000 lighting strikes which resulted in fires.
Salona County Sherrif Tom Ferrara released a video informing residents about the fire and revealed that over 30,000 people had been evacuated. He said:
"This will be one of our most significant fires in recent history. More than 140,000 acres have burned, a good estimate for us is 62,000 acres of that has burned in Solano County. That's a massive fire."
Residents in California have been told to prepare a bag filled with essentials in the event that they would have to evacuate their homes in a hurry.
On Thursday, the group of fires called the "LNU Lightning Complex," had reached 215,000 acres with a 0 percent containment.
CalFire, the state's firefighting agency which is at normal staffing levels has asked for more fire engines.
As more people are driven away from their homes, those heading to shelters have the additional risk of the coronavirus, with California having over 600,000 cases.
Cheryl Jarvis spoke to CNN after evacuating to her local community center and revealed she refused to go inside, choosing instead to stay in her car. She said:
"Not only are we dealing with COVID, but with also the heat and now the fires."
CalFire, the state's firefighting agency that is at normal staffing levels has asked for more fire engines from out of state to help fight the wildfires.
California also has trained volunteer inmates who train and live in camps across the state. However, due to the coronavirus, volunteer numbers have been low.
One of the people that was killed in the fires was a pilot who was making water drops when his helicopter crashed.
Three of the deaths were from Napa County, with one coming from Solano County. 33 civilians and firefighters were also injured.