California Wildfires Continue to Burn Across the State, with Seven Fatalities to Date
There are currently 23 active wildfires burning across California. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), there are seven total wildfire-related fatalities, and approximately 1.6 million acres burned. The LNU Lightning Complex that started on August 17 is still the largest active incident in the state, with 368,868 acres to date and 33 percent containment. The SCU Lightning Complex in Walnut Creek is the second-largest blaze, having burnt 368,671 acres and 35 percent containment. The CZU Lightning Complex is currently the third-largest active blaze, which has burned 81,137 acres of land.The San Francisco Chronicle announced two civilian men were reported missing in Santa Cruz County as fire crews continue to respond to the CZU Lightning Complex fire.
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) August 27, 2020
Twitter: Office of the Governor of California
Cal Fire reported progress in containing dozens of the major fires. In the California Statewide Fire Summary on Wednesday, August 26, Cal Fire reported that “favorable” weather conditions have helped firefighters contain the burn. A strong marine layer brought lower temperatures to fire prone/impacted areas, raising relative humidity. Firefighters throughout the state have received assistance from the military and other state responders, including 911 fire engines. The California Statewide Fire Summary cautioned that warmer weather conditions are projected going into the weekend, with isolated thunderstorms possible in northern California and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. This changing climate is expected to make firefighting conditions more challenging.
Smoke – like the kind being emitted by major wildfires in the western U.S. right now – can travel huge distances, impacting air quality as it goes.
— NOAA Research (@NOAAResearch) August 27, 2020
Twitter: NOAA Research
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Weather Service (NWS) issued Red Flag Warnings for Idaho, Utah, and Montana. The NWS additionally issued Air Quality Alerts for 10 counties, including Merced and Fresno, due to the surrounding wildfires.
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) August 27, 2020
Twitter: CAL FIRE
Cal Fire encourages individuals to prepare and plan for wildfires. These events can develop quickly. It is never too soon to prepare for a wildfire event. Individuals should follow the guidance of local authorities and remain safe as many fires remain largely uncontained. Cal Fire encourages individuals to prepare a Go Bag prior to being under a red flag warning. It is important to be able to mobilize and evacuate quickly. The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation, visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.
EVACUATIONS AND EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS
The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has declared a State of Emergency amid the scale and magnitude of fires that are burning throughout California.
Here’s the breakdown of public advisories from NOAA’s NWS in decreasing order of severity:
AIR QUALITY ALERT:
- San Joaquin
- Remember, Ready.gov provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
- The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map.
- The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
- Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
- FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for Wildfires: link