Story at a glance

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday said more than 1.2 million acres have burned in just over a week across the state.
  • The death toll from the wildfires hitting Northern California rose to seven.
  • Newsom called this week critical in working to contain the fires, adding that fire crews from other states continue to flow into the area to lend their support.

Massive wildfires sparked by lightning in Northern California have left at least seven people dead as the state deals with one of the most active fire season’s ever. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday said crews are currently battling 625 fires across the state, and more than 1.2 million acres have been burned in just over a week. More than 1,200 structures have been destroyed although that number is likely to increase as residents are allowed back into neighborhoods after being evacuated. 


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The governor said that almost 300 lightning strikes overnight had sparked 10 new fires that have the potential to become a new threat. 

Newsom called this week critical in working to contain the fires, adding that fire crews from other states continue to flow into the area to lend their support. 

“Foundationally and fundamentally, we’re deploying every resource at our disposal, every resource that we have within the state and ... some of the resources we pulled out of state into California to battle these historic wildfires,” Newsom said during a news conference Monday. 

Tens of thousands of firefighters have been enlisted to help in the effort to contain the blazes, including crews from Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, Utah and Washington. 

More than 7,000 wildfires have torn through 1.4 million acres in the state this year. By this time last year, there had been 4,292 fires that had consumed about 56,000 acres, Newsom said. 

The LNU Lightning Complex, which stretches across Napa and other nearby counties, has grown to nearly 352,000 acres but is now 27 percent contained. The SCU Lightning Complex burning in Santa Clara County, Alameda County and other nearby counties has burned more than 360,000 acres and is 15 percent contained. 

An estimated 170,000 people are under evacuation orders, although some orders were reduced to warnings Monday. 

The smoke churning into the air has caused the air quality to drop around the Bay Area and in parts of neighboring states.

Published on Aug 25, 2020