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Thread: Wildfire Roundup for California

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    https://www.wcvb.com/article/wildfir...nties/33666334

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
    Four people have died and four others were injured in wildfires burning in five Northern California counties, Cal Fire said Thursday.

    Three Napa County residents and one Solano County resident were killed in the LNU Lightning Complex fires. Four others were injured, Cal Fire said.


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    The LNU Lightning Complex fires were ignited Tuesday night by lightning strikes in Napa and Sonoma counties. The fires have since spread to Lake, Solano and Yolo counties.

    Lightning-sparked wildfires in Northern California exploded in size Friday to become some of the largest in state history, forcing thousands to flee and destroying hundreds of homes and other structures as reinforcements began arriving to help weary firefighters.

    More than 12,000 firefighters aided by helicopters and air tankers are battling wildfires throughout California. Three groups of fires, called complexes, burning north, east and south of San Francisco have together scorched 780 square miles (2,020 square kilometers), destroyed more than 500 structures.

    More than 140,000 people are under evacuation orders.

    The blazes, coming during a heat wave that has seen temperatures top 100 degrees, are taxing the state’s firefighting capacity but assistance from throughout the country was beginning to arrive, with 10 states sending fire crews, engines and aircraft to help, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

    The number of personnel assigned to the sprawling LNU Complex — a cluster of blazes burning in the heart of wine country north of San Francisco — doubled to more than 1,000 firefighters Friday, he said.

    Newsom thanked President Donald Trump's administration for its help a day after pushing back on Trump's criticism of the state's wildfire prevention work, saying that he has a "strong personal relationship with the president.”

    “While he may make statements publicly, the working relationship privately has been a very effective one,” Newsom said.

    There are 560 fires burning in the state, many small and remote but there are about two dozen major fires, mainly in Northern California. Many blazes were sparked by thousands of lightning strikes earlier in the week.

    Tens of thousands of homes were threatened by flames that drove through dense and bone-dry trees and brush. Some fires doubled in size within 24 hours, fire officials said.

    With firefighting resources tight, homes in remote, hard-to-get-to places burned unattended. CalFire Chief Mark Brunton pleaded with residents to quit battling fires on their own, saying that just causes more problems for the professionals.

    “We had last night three separate rescues that pulled our vital, very few resources away,” he said.

    An anxious Rachel Stratman, 35, and her husband, Quentin Lareau, 40, waited for word Friday about their home in the Forest Springs community of Boulder Creek, in Santa Cruz County, after evacuating earlier this week. She knew one house burned but received conflicting information about the rest of the neighborhood.

    See a map of Solano County evacuations here

    “We have more people but it’s not enough. We have more air support but it’s still not enough and that’s why we need support from our federal partners,” Newsom said.

    “It’s so hard to wait and not know," she said. “I’m still torn if I want people to be going back to the area and videotaping. I know they cause the firefighters distraction, but that’s the only way we know.”

    The couple were in a San Jose hotel with medication she needs after undergoing a transplant surgery last month. She collected her mother's ashes and some clothes while her husband closed windows and readied the home before they evacuated Tuesday.

    “I kept looking at things and kept thinking I should grab this or that, but I just told myself I needed to leave. I didn’t bring any official documents and I didn’t bring my house deed or car title. No passport," she said.

    The ferocity of the fires was astonishing so early in the fire season, which historically has seen the largest and deadliest blazes when dry gusts blow in the fall.

    Smoke and ash billowing from the fires has fouled the air throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and along California's scenic central coast.

    The SCU Lightning Complex fire burning east of San Francisco started Tuesday and the slightly smaller LNU Lightning Complex burning in wine country that was sparked a day earlier already have become among the 10 largest wildfires in state history. Firefighters had only contained a small portion of the wildfires by Friday afternoon.

    See evacuation orders for Napa, Lake and Sonoma counties here

    In Napa County, Crosswalk Community Church has transformed its sanctuary and gymnasium into an evacuation shelter, filling the floor with cots spaced at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart. Pastor Peter Shaw said the church has seen a steady stream of people stopping for resources. Some were just looking for information, while others needed gift cards for food and basic needs.

    “COVID-19 complicates everything,” Shaw wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Socially distanced cots drastically decreases our capacity.”

    A few people have stayed the night, Shaw said, adding several people parked their RVs in the church parking lot.

    “The longer the evacuations stay in place, I suspect the more people we will see,” he said.

    Eric Swensen packed early and got ready to evacuate after seeing ash, burned leaves and charred bark fall around his family's home in Boulder Creek earlier this week. He, his 11-year-old son, girlfriend Gundy Sartor, and neighbor Lesley Wludyga packed a pet lizard and important documents and headed north to Redwood City.
    But as of Friday, he still hadn't heard if his home had survived. He read on social media that firefighters had to retreat from the area.

    “Obviously, the current resources dedicated to the fire are nowhere near enough, but we also understand that California is burning, and they are doing what they can,” Swensen said.


  5. #30
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    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53828150

    Six people have died in some California's largest-ever wildfires that have fouled the air with heavy smoke across much of the western US.

    The worst of the hundreds of fires burning across the state are in the mountains to the south and east of San Francisco.

    Officials say the fires were started by more than 12,000 dry lightning strikes amidst an historic heat wave.

    Hundreds of buildings have burned down and thousands more are threatened.

    By Friday, emergency officials said some of the fires had doubled in size from the day earlier and have now forced 175,000 residents to flee.

    Over 10,000 fire-fighters are battling the blazes, which have been burning on steep, difficult to access terrain and have been fuelled by strong winds. More fire-fighters are racing in from other states to help.

    Two of the fires are now the 7th and 10th largest in the state's history, Governor Gavin Newsom said in a news conference as he urged President Trump to sign a major disaster declaration.

    "We simply haven't seen anything like this in many, many years," he said, adding that an area the size of the US state of Rhode Island has already burned within California.

    With more than 650,000 coronavirus cases, California also has the highest number of infections in the US, and some evacuees have said they are afraid to go to emergency shelters.

    One woman told CNN that she was forced to flee to a community centre in Vacaville, but is refusing to go inside for fear of catching coronavirus.

    "Not only are we dealing with Covid, but with also the heat and now the fires," said Cheryl Jarvis, who said she is currently sleeping in her Toyota Prius.

    US disaster agencies have updated disaster preparedness and evacuation guidance in light of Covid-19. People who may be required to flee have been to told to carry at least two face masks per person, as well as hand sanitiser, soap and disinfectant wipes.

    Emergency shelters are enforcing social distancing rules and mask wearing, and have even given individual tents to families to self-isolate. Some counties are seeking to set up separate shelters for sick evacuees or anyone who is found to have a high temperature.

    Officials say people should consider sheltering with family and friends.

    In another pandemic twist, officials also advise that people remain indoors due to the poor air quality outside.

    California is also facing an electricity strain, which is has caused rolling blackout for thousands of customers. Officials have appealed for residents to use less power or risk further cuts.

    In total, over 1,205 square miles (1,950km) have burned across the state.
    Satellite images show smoke blanketing nearly all of California, as well most of Nevada and southern Idaho.

    Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California's oldest state park and home to redwood trees that are 2,000 years old, sustained extensive damage to historic buildings.

    Fire-fighting teams are stretched thin across the state and have been forced to work longer shifts than usual.

    A volunteer fire-fighting corps made up of state prisoners, which has helped the state battle blazes since World War Two, has been diminished this year due to the pandemic.

    President Trump blamed California for the fires, and threatened to withhold federal funding as he repeated a suggestion that was met with bemusement when he first raised it in 2018.

    Speaking to supporters in Pennsylvania on Thursday, he said he had told state officials: "You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they're like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up."

    "I've been telling them this now for three years, but they don't want to listen," he said. "'The environment, the environment,' but they have massive fires again."



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    https://fox40.com/news/local-news/ev...olumne-county/

    TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif, (KTXL) — A wildfire that began burning in Tuolumne County has prompted evacuations.

    The Moc Fire began Thursday afternoon near Highway 49 and Highway 120, near the community of Moccasin. By Friday morning, Cal Fire said the fire had spread 2,800 acres.

    Power has been shut off from Moccasin through Big Oak Flat to Merrell Road in Groveland, the sheriff’s office wrote.

    Evacuees can leave through Yosemite National Park or westbound Highway 120, the sheriff’s office said.

    A list of evacuation orders and warnings can be seen below:

    Tuolumne County
    Community of Moccasin
    Marshes Flat and Moccasin Ranch Estates.
    Highway 120 at Moccasin through Big Oak Flat to Merrell Road in Groveland, including Priest Coulterville Road
    Jackass Creek Road, Jackass Creek Ridge and Jackass Ridge Access
    Highway 120 to Boneyard, Second Garrotte and Incense Cedar Trail
    Everything west of Second Garrotte, Cherokee Trail and Yosemite Springs
    Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake, including up Highway 120 to Big Creek Shaft Road
    Highway 120 to Smith Station Road

    Mariposa County
    Greeley Hill Road (J132) from Priest Coulterville Road to Wagner Ridge, including all roads north to the Tuolumne County Line
    Wagner Ridge Road and all side roads
    Dexter Road and all side roads
    Fiske Road and all side roads
    Cuneo Road and all side roads
    Priest Coulterville Road and all side roads
    Ponderosa Way and all side roads
    Evacuation Warnings/Fire Advisement Areas
    Mariposa County
    Highway 49 north from the Mariposa/Tuolumne County Line to Mary Harrison Mine Road and all side roads
    Coulterville from 4700 block of J132 to Priest Coulterville Road
    Greeley Hill, all roads south on Greeley Hill Road (J132) from Priest Coulterville to Smith Station
    Road Closures
    Highway 120 – Vehicles are permitted on Highway 120 in Mono County
    Priest-Coulterville and the Greeley Hill Road intersection
    Wards Ferry Road in Big Oak Flat and on the Sonora side
    Northbound Highway 49 from Penon Blanco to Highway 120
    All north intersecting roads on Greeley Hill Road (J132)/Smith Station from Priest Coulterville to the Mariposa/Tuolumne County Line

  7. #32
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    https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2020...ason-pandemic/

    GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – The pandemic is fanning a different flame for firefighters. It’s been a busy start to fire season with 96% of CalFire crews on the front lines. Already fighting several fires across the state, they’re also up against COVID-19.

    There’s a new kind of base camp this fire season where firefighters hunker down. These are now in a much larger area like the Nevada County Fairgrounds so crews can spread out and stay socially distanced.

    Captain Eric Ayers showed CBS13 where crews regroup, get some food, rest and then head back out to knock down the flames once again. But the routine is different in the middle of a pandemic.


    “COVID, flu-like symptoms, anything that is related that could actually spread in a fire camp we have to take precautions not to spread it,” said Capt. Ayers.

    READ: Reinforcements Arriving To Help In Deadly California Fires

    Capt. Jesse Gomez with the Selma Fire Department is at another camp set up at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga. He says there are usually 10 firefighters to a trailer, now there’s half that or less. Some are even stationed in hotels and everyone stays with the same smaller group.

    “We’re getting our temperatures checked, we’re all wearing masks. It’s a lot different, I was wondering how firefighting season was going to be and I’m getting first-hand how it is,” said Capt. Gomez.

    The pandemic is undoubtedly piling on a new set of parameters, but nothing firefighters aren’t willing to take on.

    READ: Critically Injured Burn Victims Rescued Near Lake Berryessa; 1 Found In Storm Drain

    “All of us as public safety are very proud to do what we do and take care of one another and especially during a pandemic like this, it’s more of us stepping up,” said Capt. Gomez.

    “As we come into the height of fire season, and we have a long season to go, we do not want our personnel to get sick,” said Capt. Ayers.

    MARLEE GINTER

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    https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2020...solano-county/

    VACAVILLE (CBS13) — The latest information on the LNU Lightning Complex Fire:

    7 p.m.

    Containment on the 302,388-acre LNU Lightning Complex Fire has grown to 15%, Cal Fire said.


    Cal Fire has not reported any new structural damage or injuries. Officials say the fires are still active and moving in multiple directions, impacting multiple communities. Several fires have merged on the north side of Lake Berryessa into the Hennessey Fire, moving into large areas of timber.

    Evacuations are still in effect in the impacted counties, including Solano County. For the latest evacuations, check their website.

    6:40 p.m.

    The Solano County Sheriff’s Office issued another update Friday evening about the damage and destruction from the LNU Lightning Complex Fire in their county. The sheriff said at least 154 homes have been destroyed or heavily damaged and they expect that number to rise.

    More than 62,000 acres have burned in the county and the sheriff said hundreds of PG&E poles are down with wires across roads, making it unsafe to return to the area.

    PG&E crews are working to repair their lines as law enforcement is increasing patrols to prevent any looting.

    Sheriff Tom Ferrara said he had never seen anything like the speed and heat intensity of this fire.

    “For this fire to cover the ground in, let’s say three or four hours, from Lake Berryessa all the way into Solano County, Gibson Canyon, Pleasants Valley Road, we’re so fortunate that folks got out in time,” Ferrara said.

    4:40 p.m.

    The LNU Lightning Complex Fire has destroyed at least 119 homes in Solano County, the sheriff’s office said Friday afternoon. Officials said approximately 50,000 acres burned in the county and 14,000 people — about 5,250 residences — were evacuated.

    Crews have assessed around 471 homes so far. There has been one reported death on Pleasants Valley Road, but no other major injuries or fatalities.

    The sheriff’s office said they were hoping to repopulate the Green Valley area Friday, but fire behavior has changed so evacuations remain in effect and will be revisited on Saturday.

    Ranchers and farmers can apply for special permits to go into evacuation zones and take care of their property.

    Current evacuation orders can be found on the Solano County website.

    In total, as of 11:53 a.m., the LNU Lightning Complex Fire has burned 219,067 acres and is 7% contained.

    1:20 p.m.

    Police say all evacuation orders within Vacaville have been lifted.

    As of 1:05. p.m. Friday, all residents within the city limits are now clear to come back home.

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    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...untry-bay-area

    Firefighters make a stand in the backyard of a home in front of the advancing CZU Lightning Complex fire in Boulder Creek, California. Photograph: Marcio Jos? S?nchez/AP
    California has requested help from Australia and Canada to help tackle huge wildfires the state is struggling to contain.


    California's wildfires explained: how did they start – and is this normal?
    Read more
    Governor Gavin Newsom said the fires, which have consumed an area equivalent in size to Rhode Island, “are stretching our resources, our personnel”, requiring help from other states and countries.

    “We simply haven’t seen anything like this in many, many years,” said Newsom, who has requested assistance from what he called “the world’s best wildfire-fighters” in Australia, a country that itself experienced enormous wildfires earlier this year.

    Help from Canada and 10 other US states is also heading to California. Extra firefighters and aircraft began arriving on Friday, to help weary crews battling some of the largest blazes in state history and as weekend weather threatened to renew the advance of flames that have killed six and incinerated hundreds of homes.

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    Some 560 wildfires were burning throughout the state. Many were small and remote but the bulk of damage was from three clusters of blazes ravaging forest and rural areas in the wine country and San Francisco Bay Area.

    Those complexes, consisting of dozens of fires, exploded in size on Friday. Together, they had scorched 991 square miles and destroyed more than 500 homes and other buildings, fire officials said. At least 100,000 people were under evacuation orders.

    Two Bay Area clusters, the LNU Lightning Complex and the SCU Lightning Complex, became the second- and third-largest wildfires in recent state history by size, according to Cal Fire records. The third blaze, the CZU Lightning Complex, is in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

    The fires were sparked by lightning. Cooler, more humid weather overnight helped firefighters make ground against the fires but the National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch from Sunday morning into Tuesday for the entire Bay Area and central coast. Forecasters said there was a chance of thunderstorms bringing more lightning and erratic gusts.

    More than 12,000 personnel were fighting fires around the state, aided by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. By Friday, the state’s fire agency, Cal Fire, had called out 96% of available fire engines.

    But as reinforcements arrived the number of personnel assigned to the LNU complex, in the heart of wine country north of San Francisco, more than doubled from 580 to more than 1,400 and nearly 200 fire engines were on the scene, fire officials said.

    “I’m happy to see the jumps that we’ve had today,” said Sean Kavanaugh, Cal Fire incident commander.

    That could help crews make further progress against the fire, which was just 15% contained. Most evacuations for the town of Vacaville were lifted. The fire threat there was reduced after reaching the edges of town.

    “I feel like we’re up on our feet, standing straight and actually moving a little bit forward,” Kavanaugh said.

    However, the number of large fires was “staggering” and had put “tremendous strain” on resources throughout western states, he said. Nevada and Arizona, for example, battled sizable blazes this week as a heat wave swept the west.

    In the Santa Cruz mountains south of San Francisco, about 1,000 firefighters were battling a fire 10 times the size they typically would cover, said Dan Olsen, a Cal Fire spokesman.

    With resources tight, homes in remote places burned unattended. Cal Fire chief Mark Brunton pleaded with residents to quit battling fires on their own, saying that just causes more problems for the professionals.

    “We had last night three separate rescues that pulled our vital, very few resources away,” he said.

    But Peter Koleckai credits a neighbor, not firefighters, with saving his home in a rural area where dozens of homes were reduced to smoldering ruins.

    “We were here at about three o’clock in the morning and the fire department just left. They just left,” he said, adding that he ran to a firefighter and told him a brush fire was erupting next to a house.


    “They never went up there and it engulfed the whole house, took the house out,” he said.

    A neighbor with a high pressure hose, firefighting equipment and a generator saved his home, Koleckai said.

    The climate crisis has already arrived. Just look to California’s abnormal wildfires
    Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano
    Read more
    Cal Fire battalion chief Mike Smith said typically a wildfire of the size burning through the region would have 10 or even 20 times as many firefighters.

    “We are doing absolutely everything we can,” he said.

    The death toll has reached at least six. Three bodies were found on Thursday in a burned home in Napa county, said Henry Wofford, a sheriff’s spokesman.

    A man died in neighboring Solano county, and a Pacific Gas & Electric utility worker was found dead in a vehicle in the Vacaville area. Also on Wednesday, a helicopter pilot died in a crash while dropping water on a blaze in Fresno county.

    Smoke and ash billowing from the fires has fouled the air throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and along California’s scenic central coast.

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    https://abc7.com/lnu-lightning-compl...story/6383626/

    That's right folks the LNU Fire in Solano County, CA can get an area the size of Los Angeles city limits.

    SAN FRANCISCO -- The LNU Lightning Complex has become one of the largest wildfires in California history, second only to a complex that scorched NorCal in 2018, according to Cal Fire records. The SCU Lightning Complex now ranks third.

    In six days, the LNU Lightning Complex had burned more than 314,000 acres across the Bay Area and wine country, leaving four dead and hundreds of buildings destroyed.

    For comparison, 314,000 acres, or approximately 490 square miles, is almost as large as the entire city of Los Angeles, roughly 10 and a half San Franciscos and 2.5 times the size of Lake Tahoe.

    If moved to the East Coast, the fire would engulf 40% of Rhode Island and all of New York City -- along with parts of New Jersey.

    That's the size of 12 and a half Disney Worlds and 628 Disneylands.

    The complex could house 237,878 football fields or 1,016,576 Olympic swimming pools.

    The nearby SCU Lightning Complex is also the state's third-largest fire in history, burning more than 291,968 acres in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties.

    They only rival 2018's Mendocino Complex, which burned more than 459,000 acres in Colusa, Lake, Mendocino and Glenn counties. That fire destroyed 280 buildings and claimed the life of one person.

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    https://ktla.com/news/california/unw...rn-california/

    Three massive wildfires chewed through parched Northern California landscape Sunday as firefighters raced to dig breaks and make other preparations ahead of a frightening weather system. That system was packing high winds and more of the lightning that sparked the huge blazes and scores of other fires around the state, putting nearly a quarter-million people under evacuation orders and warnings.

    At the CZU Lightning Complex fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. south of San Francisco, authorities said their effort was hindered by people who refused to heed evacuation orders and those who were using the chaos to steal. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said 100 officers were patrolling and anyone not authorized to be in an evacuation zone would be arrested.

    “What we’re hearing from the community is that there’s a lot of looting going on,” Hart said. He said eight people have been arrested or cited and “there’s going to be more.”

    He and county District Attorney Jeff Rosell expressed anger at what Rosell called the “absolutely soulless” people who seek to victimize those already victimized by the fire. Among the victims was a fire commander who was robbed while helping coordinate efforts on Saturday.

    Someone entered the commander’s fire vehicle and stole personal items, including a wallet and “drained his bank account,” said Chief Mark Brunton, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

    “I can’t imagine a bigger low-life,” Hart said, promising to catch him and vowing “the DA is going to hammer him.”

    The Santa Cruz fire is one of the “complexes,” or groups of fires, burning on all sides of the San Francisco Bay Area. They were started by lightning strikes that were among 12,000 registered in the state in the past week.

    The National Weather Service issued a “red flag” warning through Monday afternoon for the drought-stricken area, meaning extreme fire conditions including high temperatures, low humidity and wind gusts up to 65 mph (105 kph) that “may result in dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior.”

    In nearly a week, firefighters have gotten no more than the 17% containment for the LNU Lightning Complex fire in wine country north of San Francisco. It’s been the most destructive blaze, accounting for five deaths and 845 destroyed homes and other buildings. It and a fire burning southeast of the Bay Area are among the five largest fires in state history, with both burning more than 500 square miles (1,295 square kilometers).

    In Southern California, an 11-day-old blaze held steady at just under 50 square miles (106 square kilometers) near Lake Hughes in northern Los Angeles County mountains. Rough terrain, hot weather and the potential for thunderstorms with lightning strikes challenged firefighters.

    Holly Hansen, an evacuee from the LNU fire, was among evacuees from the community of Angwin being allowed to back their homes for one hour to retrieve belongings. She and her three dogs waited five hours in her SUV for their turn.

    “It’s horrible, I lived in Sonoma during the (2017) Tubbs Fire, so this is time No. 2 for me. It’s horrible when you have to think about what to take,” she said. “I think it’s a very raw human base emotion to have fear of fire and losing everything. It’s frightening.”

    Meantime, firefighters were frantically preparing for thunderstorms that will bring high winds and “dry” lightning, a term used when such storms have little or no rain. Brunton said while he’s confident firefighters did the most with the time they had to prepare, he’s not sure what to expect.

    “There’s a lot of potential for things to really go crazy out there,” he said.

    Since Aug. 15, more than 500 fires of varying sizes have burned throughout California, scorching 1.2 million acres, or 1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers). Of those, about two dozen major fires were attracting much of the state’s resources.

    Most of the damage was caused by the three complex fires. They have burned 1,175 square miles (3.043 square kilometers), destroyed almost 1,000 homes and other structures and killed five people, three of whom who were found in a home in an area under an evacuation order.

    Other casualties included ancient redwood trees at California’s oldest state park, Big Basin Redwoods, plus the park’s headquarters and campgrounds. Smoke from the fires made the region’s air quality dangerous, forcing millions to stay inside.

    Officials surveying maps at command centers are astonished by the sheer size of the fires, Cal Fire spokesman Brice Bennett said.

    “You could overlay half of one of these fires and it covers the entire city of San Francisco,” Bennett said Sunday.

    Responding to the emergency, President Donald Trump on Saturday issued a major disaster declaration to provide federal assistance. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that the declaration will also help people in counties affected by the fires with crisis counseling, housing and other social services.

    Fire officials, meanwhile, have struggled to get enough resources to fight the biggest fires because so many blazes are burning around the state.

    The wine country fire has only 1,700 firefighters on scene. By comparison, the state had 5,000 firefighters assigned to the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, the largest fire in state history.

    “All of our resources remain stretched to capacity that we have not seen in recent history,” said Shana Jones, the chief for Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit.
    https://ktla.com/news/california/nat...ing-shortages/

    The National Guard and U.S. military have sent assistance to the site of massive fires in Northern California that have burned hundreds of homes and spurred the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

    The help comes amid a staffing shortage on the fire lines that has caused officials to make wrenching decisions about what areas to save and which ones to let burn.

    The Guard is providing helicopter support along with a dozen 20-person crews to fires throughout the state, and the military has sent several C-130 aircraft specially equipped to act as air tankers, said Jeremy Rahn, public information officer for the LNU Lightning Complex fire in Northern California.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Saturday that the White House had approved California’s request for a presidential major disaster declaration to bolster the state’s emergency response to wildfires burning in Northern California.

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    https://ktla.com/news/california/unw...rn-california/

    Three massive wildfires chewed through parched Northern California landscape Sunday as firefighters raced to dig breaks and make other preparations ahead of a frightening weather system. That system was packing high winds and more of the lightning that sparked the huge blazes and scores of other fires around the state, putting nearly a quarter-million people under evacuation orders and warnings.

    At the CZU Lightning Complex fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. south of San Francisco, authorities said their effort was hindered by people who refused to heed evacuation orders and those who were using the chaos to steal. Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said 100 officers were patrolling and anyone not authorized to be in an evacuation zone would be arrested.

    ?What we?re hearing from the community is that there?s a lot of looting going on,? Hart said. He said eight people have been arrested or cited and ?there?s going to be more.?

    He and county District Attorney Jeff Rosell expressed anger at what Rosell called the ?absolutely soulless? people who seek to victimize those already victimized by the fire. Among the victims was a fire commander who was robbed while helping coordinate efforts on Saturday.

    Someone entered the commander?s fire vehicle and stole personal items, including a wallet and ?drained his bank account,? said Chief Mark Brunton, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

    ?I can?t imagine a bigger low-life,? Hart said, promising to catch him and vowing ?the DA is going to hammer him.?

    The Santa Cruz fire is one of the ?complexes,? or groups of fires, burning on all sides of the San Francisco Bay Area. They were started by lightning strikes that were among 12,000 registered in the state in the past week.

    The National Weather Service issued a ?red flag? warning through Monday afternoon for the drought-stricken area, meaning extreme fire conditions including high temperatures, low humidity and wind gusts up to 65 mph (105 kph) that ?may result in dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior.?

    In nearly a week, firefighters have gotten no more than the 17% containment for the LNU Lightning Complex fire in wine country north of San Francisco. It?s been the most destructive blaze, accounting for five deaths and 845 destroyed homes and other buildings. It and a fire burning southeast of the Bay Area are among the five largest fires in state history, with both burning more than 500 square miles (1,295 square kilometers).

    In Southern California, an 11-day-old blaze held steady at just under 50 square miles (106 square kilometers) near Lake Hughes in northern Los Angeles County mountains. Rough terrain, hot weather and the potential for thunderstorms with lightning strikes challenged firefighters.

    Holly Hansen, an evacuee from the LNU fire, was among evacuees from the community of Angwin being allowed to back their homes for one hour to retrieve belongings. She and her three dogs waited five hours in her SUV for their turn.

    ?It?s horrible, I lived in Sonoma during the (2017) Tubbs Fire, so this is time No. 2 for me. It?s horrible when you have to think about what to take,? she said. ?I think it?s a very raw human base emotion to have fear of fire and losing everything. It?s frightening.?

    Meantime, firefighters were frantically preparing for thunderstorms that will bring high winds and ?dry? lightning, a term used when such storms have little or no rain. Brunton said while he?s confident firefighters did the most with the time they had to prepare, he?s not sure what to expect.

    ?There?s a lot of potential for things to really go crazy out there,? he said.

    Since Aug. 15, more than 500 fires of varying sizes have burned throughout California, scorching 1.2 million acres, or 1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers). Of those, about two dozen major fires were attracting much of the state?s resources.

    Most of the damage was caused by the three complex fires. They have burned 1,175 square miles (3.043 square kilometers), destroyed almost 1,000 homes and other structures and killed five people, three of whom who were found in a home in an area under an evacuation order.

    Other casualties included ancient redwood trees at California?s oldest state park, Big Basin Redwoods, plus the park?s headquarters and campgrounds. Smoke from the fires made the region?s air quality dangerous, forcing millions to stay inside.

    Officials surveying maps at command centers are astonished by the sheer size of the fires, Cal Fire spokesman Brice Bennett said.

    ?You could overlay half of one of these fires and it covers the entire city of San Francisco,? Bennett said Sunday.

    Responding to the emergency, President Donald Trump on Saturday issued a major disaster declaration to provide federal assistance. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement that the declaration will also help people in counties affected by the fires with crisis counseling, housing and other social services.

    Fire officials, meanwhile, have struggled to get enough resources to fight the biggest fires because so many blazes are burning around the state.

    The wine country fire has only 1,700 firefighters on scene. By comparison, the state had 5,000 firefighters assigned to the Mendocino Complex Fire in 2018, the largest fire in state history.

    ?All of our resources remain stretched to capacity that we have not seen in recent history,? said Shana Jones, the chief for Cal Fire?s Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit.
    https://ktla.com/news/california/nat...ing-shortages/

    The National Guard and U.S. military have sent assistance to the site of massive fires in Northern California that have burned hundreds of homes and spurred the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

    The help comes amid a staffing shortage on the fire lines that has caused officials to make wrenching decisions about what areas to save and which ones to let burn.

    The Guard is providing helicopter support along with a dozen 20-person crews to fires throughout the state, and the military has sent several C-130 aircraft specially equipped to act as air tankers, said Jeremy Rahn, public information officer for the LNU Lightning Complex fire in Northern California.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Saturday that the White House had approved California?s request for a presidential major disaster declaration to bolster the state?s emergency response to wildfires burning in Northern California.

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    https://fox40.com/news/california-co...ed-by-looters/

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) – A Santa Cruz Fire Ground Commander battling the CZU Lightning Complex Fire was robbed by looters over the weekend, according to Cal Fire.

    When the firefighter returned to his work vehicle he noticed his wallet was missing, and he later realized his entire bank account had been drained.

    “It’s unfortunate. It’s sickening that one of our Fire Ground Commanders, while out taking care of business and directing firefighting crews, somebody entered his department vehicle and stole his wallet and drained his bank account ,” a Cal Fire official said in the briefing.

    Cal Fire tweeted about the incident , emphasizing the importance of staying out of evacuated zones.

    https://twitter.com/CALFIRECZU/statu...53631659429888
    The CZU Lightning Complex fires, affecting San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, have expanded to more than 71,000 acres and are 17% contained at last check.

    This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office.

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    https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/...n-15512580.php

    As the Woodward Fire continues to spread, the Marin County Sheriff's Office ordered some Inverness residents living in the hills closest to the expanding inferno to evacuate their homes.

    Monday night residents on Silverhills Road, Fox Drive, and Noren Way south of Inverness Park were told to leave immediately as the growing fire continued to spread eastward. The fire has already burned 2,689 acres with five percent containment as of 5:30 pm Monday, according to the Marin County Fire Department.

    At 10 PM on Monday, the sheriff's office issued an evacuation warning that included: "Highway 1 at the Greenbridge (Lagunitas Creek) south to the intersection of Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake (Southern Intersection in Olema). Sir Francis Drake to the top of Olema Hill - everything north of Sir Francis Drake. Everything between the above intersections to the east to Olema Hill and west of Highway 1."

    The Woodward Fire began on August 18th in a remote area of Pt. Reyes south of Limantour Road, which has made it a challenge for firefighters battling the blaze.

    According to CBS Bay Area, there have so far been no injuries or structures lost. It is threatening more than 1,600 structures

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    https://fox40.com/news/local-news/st...d-in-wildfire/

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Two stepbrothers were recovering in the hospital Wednesday after being badly burned by a fire within the SCU Lightning Complex.

    As the fire raged into the Del Puerto Canyon area, stepbrothers James Schultz and Tom Shelton were the last ones on their property in the rugged hills between San Joaquin and Alameda counties.

    “They were just, basically, protecting their property,” Steven Nelsen told FOX40.

    Nelsen is the brother of 22-year-old Shelton and stepbrother of 32-year-old Schultz. He spoke with FOX40 Monday outside the University of California, Davis Medical Center where the two men were being treated for serious burns.

    He said his brothers were setting up sprinklers and grabbing valuables when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by flames.

    “They listened to all the warnings. They were prepared for everything, but the wind shifted and it caught them by surprise. It could happen that quickly and they were not trying to be heroes,” Nelsen explained. “Tom said that in a matter of 35, 40 seconds it just changed and they got caught.”

    Nelsen said their cars caught on fire and they caught on fire.

    By working together, Nelsen said they made it to a water tank on the property.

    “The 2,000-gallon water tank. That’s what saved their life. They turned the water on on top of them as the fire passed over them,” Nelsen explained.

    Nelsen said there was one car on the property that hadn’t burned but it didn’t have a battery.

    “And Tom, as he’s bloodied and burning and everything, gets up, finds a battery on the property that still has juice after starting all the sprinklers and the totes and everything with his bloodied hands and a rusty crescent wrench. And the battery didn’t fit. He pounded it in to fit in there, tightened it. But they didn’t have any gas. They found 10 gallons of gas on the property too that hadn’t burned, luckily,” Nelsen said.

    The badly burned men drove to a company of firefighters who were down the street and one firefighter recorded his brothers’ agony on video. For that firefighter, Nelsen had a stern message.

    “Specifically the firefighter who decided it was time to videotape my brothers as they’re burning alive, that is not OK,” he said.

    Nelsen wanted people to know his brother and stepbrother are going to need a lot of support moving forward.

    Two GoFundMe accounts have been set up. They can be found by clicking or tapping here and clicking or tapping here.

    “They’re expected to make a full recovery and they’re both stable and alive. That’s really what we care about,” Nelsen said.

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    Here is an update from CalFire on the SCU Fire.

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    https://www.ktvu.com/news/lnu-fire-g...esidents-react

    LAKE COUNTY, Calif. - Firefighting helicopters in Lake County, got a late start Tuesday because they were super socked in. The Cal Fire heliport, just outside of Middletown -- in reality a large open field -- has been used many times in previous Lake County fires, is hosting as many as 40 helicopters at a time. But, right now, some have been dispatched to other fires or remain grounded.

    "Currently aircraft are not flying because of the smoke limitations. Obviously a safe operation is what we strive for so that is one of the limiting factors of the aircraft is visibility," said Cal Fire Captain Phil Michael.

    Some of the choppers are National Guard Blackhawks converted to water droppers. "Larger aircraft means more water capability that we're able to deliver in support of the ground troops and we also do passenger transport as well," said Captain Michael.

    So, with the choppers temporarily grounded and the fire threatening Middletown, Cal Fire employed another defensive tactic.

    Firefighters performed what is called a backfiring operation. Backfiring operations are fires deliberately set so that the fire burns up the hill instead of down the hill where it has an open filed run towards Middletown. Middletown been hit time and again by major fires and they are very concerned it could happen again.

    A smoked in, but still unevacuated Middletown, residents keep a close watch on the latest fire map at Hardester's Grocery, deli and hardware store.

    "It's tough. In a way we're all used to it but we're also over it. It's scary. so many of our friends and neighbors are out of their homes in danger of their homes getting burned and it's in the midst of everything else we're going through in our country," said Hardester's grocery worker Mindy Jordan.

    The smoke often gets thick as pea soup.

    "It's a little worrisome with our employees that are working outside and having to breathe that and just knowing that it's hard for the aircraft to see to covering, dropping the retardant on the fires," said Ms. Jordan.

    It's all worrisome nonetheless. "We've been here for five years and actually lost out house in the Valley Fire and moved around and came back and we went through this last year," said Middletown resident Patrice Conklin. Nonetheless, almost anyone here will tell you, most of the time, Middletown is a great place to live and work.

    "I think what they're doing is trying to defend the homes and get people out and we're comfortable with that obviously because the state is burning.

    The saving grace today, so far, has been very light winds on a very heavy duty fire that's even burning in the hills just above the heliport.

    The LNU Lightning Complex fire stands at 356,326 acres and is 27% contained as of Tuesday evening.

    Meanwhile, Sonoma County downgraded their fire evacuation warnings for some zones, including the Meyers Fire area, which means that some residents can return home at their own risk.

    The re-entry point for returning is open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the burned areas of the Meyers Fire at 17499 Bodega Highway in Bodega Bay. The evacuation warning was lifted for the the city of Healdsburg on Tuesday afternoon, as well as many of the Sonoma County Sheriff Office's "grid areas" where orders and warnings were in effect.

    Checking in isn’t required, although COVID-19 social distancing protocols will be observed.

    In Napa County, some evacuation orders were downgraded to warnings, but not completely lifted, Cal Fire said.

    Residents may return to homes that have been without power, and there are several precautions they are encouraged to follow.

    Additional information about returning home safely can be found at socoemergency.org/recover.

    Evacuations:

    NAPA COUNTY:

    OES Info: https://www.countyofnapa.org/353/Emergency-Services

    Evac Info: https://www.countyofnapa.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=182

    Napa County Information Line: (707) 253-4540

    https://www.countyofnapa.org/2966/19746/LNU-Wildfires

    Evacuation Order:

    Highway 128 between Monticello Dam and Moskowite Corners (SR128/121 intersection)

    Wragg Canyon

    Markley Cove

    Pleasure Cove

    Highway 121 (Monticello Rd) Between Moskowite Corners(SR128/121 intersection) and Longhorn Ridge Road





    :

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    https://www.sfgate.com/california-wi...e-15516133.php

    Multiple wildfires are burning in the greater North Bay. Cal Fire is referring to them collectively as the LNU Lightning Complex. LNU stands for Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, and you can find the latest evacuation info here. A map of the fire is available here. The biggest fires are:

    Hennessey Fire (merged with Gamble, Green, Aetna, Markley, Morgan, Spanish and Round): Napa County, 299,763 acres, 33% contained

    Walbridge Fire (merged with Stewarts): Sonoma County, west of Healdsburg, 54,923 acres, 17% contained

    Meyers Fire: Sonoma County, north of Jenner, 2,360 acres, 97% contained

    ---

    LATEST Aug. 26, 7:21 p.m. An evacuation order and warnings were issued Wednesday evening for the following areas:

    – In Yolo County, zone 2 is under an immediate order to evacuate.

    – In Lake County, warnings were issued for east of Old Long Valley Road/New Long Valley Road, extending north to the Lake/Colusa County line.

    – An evacuation warning was also issued in Yolo County for zone 3.

    For a Yolo County evacuation zone map, go here.

    Aug 26, 3:55 p.m. A handful of evacuations in Napa County have been reduced to evacuation warnings.

    The areas between Rosedale Road, South to Deer Park Road are now under a warning, which means residents can return to homes at their own risk. Evacuation orders remain in place for nearby Crystal Springs Road, Glass Mountain Road and Deer Creek road.

    Aug. 26, 11:30 a.m. Cal Fire said at its Wednesday morning press briefing on the LNU Lightning Complex that crews are focused today on containing a section of the Hennessey Fire south of Middletown in Lake County.

    "The last real significant piece of line construction" is in this area," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chris Waters.

    The Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County continues to also be a challenge as it encompasses both hard-to-access, rugged terrain and residential areas.

    Officials discussed repopulation efforts in areas where the fire is well-contained and you can learn more about these by watching the full briefing here.

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    Aug. 26, 7:50 a.m. The LNU Lightning Complex in California's Wine Country saw minimal spread overnight, growing from 356,326 acres to 357,046 acres, according to Cal Fire's Wednesday morning status report.

    Before nightfall, containment stood at 27%. This morning it is at 33%.

    The LNU Complex started as a group of blazes sparked by lightning strikes more than a week ago. As fires merged, it grew into a monstrous inferno, leveling California's parched landscape and incinerating homes. The third-largest fire in California history, the LNU Complex is spread across five counties: Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano and Yolo.

    Crews were focused on increased fire activity outside the town of Middletown in Lake County overnight. Crews are setting backfires and using bulldozers and hand crews to solidify containment lines.

    "If you look at that whole northern portion of the fire that's going into Lake County is where we've been putting our efforts to wrap around it," Cal Fire public information officer Chris Bridger said Tuesday night. "You have Calistoga down below it and Middletown above it. There are a lot of residences in there. That portion of the fire was our priority today, and we're working to get lines wrapped around that area."

    KTVU reported that aircraft were unable to take off from the Cal Fire heliport in Lake County on Tuesday due to active fires and thick smoke.

    "Firefighters performed what is called a backfiring operation," KTVU reported. "Backfiring operations are fires deliberately set so that the fire burns up the hill instead of down the hill where it has an open field run toward Middletown."

    "This is the last, most difficult part of the fire," Chris Waters, the Cal Fire operations section chief, said at a Tuesday press briefing. With good weather conditions over the next few days, he's hopeful crews will make progress by the end of the week.

    The number of homes destroyed continues to grow as ground crews conduct investigations in burn areas. The latest count is more than 978 structures destroyed, 256 damaged and 30,500 threatened.

    Crews have gained containment of the fire in recent days with cooler temperatures, humid conditions and stable winds suppressing fire activity and allowing firefighters to build containment lines. A huge win came on Monday when the North Bay dodged thunderstorms moving across Northern California; the lightning and erratic winds in the forecast never materialized.

    The fire has taken five lives and injured four civilians.

    Cal Fire has reduced some evacuation orders to warnings, and many evacuated zones are expected to be repopulated in the coming days, Cal Fire officials said Tuesday. For full evacuation orders and changes, visit here.

    FEMA and the California Office of Emergency Services announced survivors of the numerous wildfires across Northern California may now register for financial assistance from the federal government. Funds will go toward home repair and replacement, rent, and other miscellaneous expenses. Visit DisasterAssistance.gov/ for more information.

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    https://www.kcra.com/article/scu-lig...st-28/33833006

    DIABLO GRANDE, Calif. —
    Fire crews continue to fight a massive group of wildfires burning in the Central Valley and Bay Area, which is still threatening thousands of homes.

    The 20 wildfires, the first of which ignited around 4 a.m. Aug. 16, have burned about 372,971 acres with 35% containment as of Friday morning, according to Cal Fire. The wildfires, called the SCU Lightning Complex, are located in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced and San Benito counties.

    "These fires have since merged into one major fire which is broken into two branches, Branch I and Branch II," Cal Fire said in an update Thursday night.

    The SCU Lightning Complex is now the second largest wildfire incident in California history, burning just slightly more than the LNU Lightning Complex currently burning in five NorCal counties and charring significantly more acreage than the Thomas Fire that consumed 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December 2017, according to Cal Fire records.

    Three first responders and two civilians were hurt in the fires, Cal Fire said.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that California had secured a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to help make sure enough resources are available to suppress the fires.

    EVACUATIONS IN PLACE
    The wildfires are threatening more than 20,000 homes and buildings, Cal Fire said. At least 48 structures have been destroyed and nine others have been damaged.

    Evacuation orders are in place in several counties, including in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

    Click here up-to-date evacuation order information.

    BATTLING THE FIRE
    Cal Fire said Friday morning that "conditions look favorable" for planned burn operations in Branch II.

    The agency noted that nighttime lowering of humidity "can lead to rapid increases in fire behavior during the pre-dawn hours from fuels burning out or burning operations."

    Crews don't expect major weather changes until Sunday, when dry and warmer conditions are forecast, Cal Fire said.

    Cal Fire SCU Lightning Complex Incident Commander Jeff Ike said Tuesday that crews are not only fighting fires in seven counties, but are also handling evacuations and repopulation in seven counties.

    "As a firefighter that’s been in the business for 27 years, this is the most complex in my career -- and not only my career, the career of many," Ike said. "I assure you, we stand together and we will get through this. But, I want to be right up front … we are in for the long haul. We’ll stand together, and we will get through this."

    Helicopters and air tankers are making drops in the more active parts of the wildfire.

    More than 1,900 fire personnel are fighting the fires with help from helicopters and dozers.
    https://www.ksbw.com/article/aug-28-...-cruz/33831609

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. —
    Cal Fire sounded optimistic Friday about progress in combating the CZU Lightning Complex fires. That followed the lifting of evacuation orders Thursday for all of Scotts Valley, including unincorporated areas.

    Fire officials reported that more 799 structures have been destroyed in the fire, with 788 of those structures in Santa Cruz County. Of those, 544 are single family residences. Approximately 13,300 structures remained threatened.

    Containment of the CZU Lightning Complex improved to 26%.

    One person still remains missing.

    Santa Cruz County Chief Deputy Chris Clark did report that a possible pipe bomb was found by firefighters Thursday. Clark said the firefighters discovered what looked like a tool box and a possible bomb inside. The bomb squad was called in to detonate the device in order to secure the area and allow firefighters to continue their work.

    Clark said a search warrant in regards to the device was executed Thursday night, but the incident is under investigation.

    More than 2,000 firefighters were continuing to work on battling the flames Friday and authorities hoped for clear air to be able to do air drops to assist in their efforts.

    One of the big hazards firefighters are dealing with are trees weakened by fires that are beginning to fall over. At least one home in Butano Park was damaged Thursday when a tree fell on it.

    Below is the list of Scotts Valley zones that were allowed to begin repopulating:

    All of Scotts Valley residents west of State Route17, including unincorporated areas of Scotts Valley. (ZONES: SCO-1, SCO-2, SCO-3, SCO-4, SCO-5, SCO-7, SCO-14, SCO-15, SCO-16, SCO-17, SCO-18, SCO-19, SCO-20, SCO-21, SCO-22, SCO-23, SCO-24, SCO-25)
    The unincorporated areas of Scotts Valley (Zones: CRZ-18B, CRZ 19, CRZ-20)
    Paradise Park (Zones: CRZ-63)
    Cave Gulch area (CRZ-9A)
    The Santa Cruz and San Mateo sheriffs both said that residents returning to their homes reported no burglaries.

    ----------------

    A group of fires burning in southern San Mateo County and Santa Cruz counties has led to tens of thousands of people being evacuated. (This article will only cover the evacuations in Santa Cruz County, to learn about the San Mateo County evacuations, click here.)

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    https://www.kcra.com/article/scu-lig...st-28/33833006

    DIABLO GRANDE, Calif. ?
    Fire crews continue to fight a massive group of wildfires burning in the Central Valley and Bay Area, which is still threatening thousands of homes.

    The 20 wildfires, the first of which ignited around 4 a.m. Aug. 16, have burned about 372,971 acres with 35% containment as of Friday morning, according to Cal Fire. The wildfires, called the SCU Lightning Complex, are located in Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced and San Benito counties.

    "These fires have since merged into one major fire which is broken into two branches, Branch I and Branch II," Cal Fire said in an update Thursday night.

    The SCU Lightning Complex is now the second largest wildfire incident in California history, burning just slightly more than the LNU Lightning Complex currently burning in five NorCal counties and charring significantly more acreage than the Thomas Fire that consumed 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in December 2017, according to Cal Fire records.

    Three first responders and two civilians were hurt in the fires, Cal Fire said.

    Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that California had secured a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to help make sure enough resources are available to suppress the fires.

    EVACUATIONS IN PLACE
    The wildfires are threatening more than 20,000 homes and buildings, Cal Fire said. At least 48 structures have been destroyed and nine others have been damaged.

    Evacuation orders are in place in several counties, including in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.

    Click here up-to-date evacuation order information.

    BATTLING THE FIRE
    Cal Fire said Friday morning that "conditions look favorable" for planned burn operations in Branch II.

    The agency noted that nighttime lowering of humidity "can lead to rapid increases in fire behavior during the pre-dawn hours from fuels burning out or burning operations."

    Crews don't expect major weather changes until Sunday, when dry and warmer conditions are forecast, Cal Fire said.

    Cal Fire SCU Lightning Complex Incident Commander Jeff Ike said Tuesday that crews are not only fighting fires in seven counties, but are also handling evacuations and repopulation in seven counties.

    "As a firefighter that?s been in the business for 27 years, this is the most complex in my career -- and not only my career, the career of many," Ike said. "I assure you, we stand together and we will get through this. But, I want to be right up front ? we are in for the long haul. We?ll stand together, and we will get through this."

    Helicopters and air tankers are making drops in the more active parts of the wildfire.

    More than 1,900 fire personnel are fighting the fires with help from helicopters and dozers.
    https://www.ksbw.com/article/aug-28-...-cruz/33831609

    SANTA CRUZ, Calif. ?
    Cal Fire sounded optimistic Friday about progress in combating the CZU Lightning Complex fires. That followed the lifting of evacuation orders Thursday for all of Scotts Valley, including unincorporated areas.

    Fire officials reported that more 799 structures have been destroyed in the fire, with 788 of those structures in Santa Cruz County. Of those, 544 are single family residences. Approximately 13,300 structures remained threatened.

    Containment of the CZU Lightning Complex improved to 26%.

    One person still remains missing.

    Santa Cruz County Chief Deputy Chris Clark did report that a possible pipe bomb was found by firefighters Thursday. Clark said the firefighters discovered what looked like a tool box and a possible bomb inside. The bomb squad was called in to detonate the device in order to secure the area and allow firefighters to continue their work.

    Clark said a search warrant in regards to the device was executed Thursday night, but the incident is under investigation.

    More than 2,000 firefighters were continuing to work on battling the flames Friday and authorities hoped for clear air to be able to do air drops to assist in their efforts.

    One of the big hazards firefighters are dealing with are trees weakened by fires that are beginning to fall over. At least one home in Butano Park was damaged Thursday when a tree fell on it.

    Below is the list of Scotts Valley zones that were allowed to begin repopulating:

    All of Scotts Valley residents west of State Route17, including unincorporated areas of Scotts Valley. (ZONES: SCO-1, SCO-2, SCO-3, SCO-4, SCO-5, SCO-7, SCO-14, SCO-15, SCO-16, SCO-17, SCO-18, SCO-19, SCO-20, SCO-21, SCO-22, SCO-23, SCO-24, SCO-25)
    The unincorporated areas of Scotts Valley (Zones: CRZ-18B, CRZ 19, CRZ-20)
    Paradise Park (Zones: CRZ-63)
    Cave Gulch area (CRZ-9A)
    The Santa Cruz and San Mateo sheriffs both said that residents returning to their homes reported no burglaries.

    ----------------

    A group of fires burning in southern San Mateo County and Santa Cruz counties has led to tens of thousands of people being evacuated. (This article will only cover the evacuations in Santa Cruz County, to learn about the San Mateo County evacuations, click here.)

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    https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/...in-bonny-doon/

    SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) ? With the fire bearing down on homes in Bonny Doon, a group of friends and neighbors took it upon themselves to create their own fire break.

    One person behind the effort estimates their actions saved 25 homes.

    Some are calling them the Bald Mountain Brigade ? A group of around 25 people who used a tractor and hard work to turn what was once just a mountain bike trail in an unincorporated part of Wilder Ranch State Park into a fire break.

    ?Initially was hand tools and a garden hose at our neighbors on the top of the hill over there where the fire first came, from there it escalated to OK we saved his house the first time, then the fire was moving his way over to us, the bulk of the homes are kind of back behind. And so from there, it was, get out the tractor, get out the chainsaw and start working on this fire line,? Justin Robinson said.

    They estimate that the fire line they cut is a half mile from end to end and the fire came right up to it with the charred trees and ash where the underbrush used to be.

    On the other side, the foliage is still green untouched by flames.

    But the fire did get very close to homes ? One had to be saved three times and eventually lost two outbuildings.

    All 25 homes in this area off Smith Grade Road are still standing.

    ?We don?t know what the fire would?ve done but we stopped it from getting to them yes,? Robinson said.

    There are still hot spots that they are keeping an eye on and while Robinson says he knows what they did isn?t encouraged by Cal Fire, they didn?t feel like they could walk away.

    ?They had fires all over the state, they didn?t have the resources to protect a tiny community like this. Initially, they weren?t here to protect the homes and we were. I know they don?t condone it, we have a lot of vested interest here and we care about our community greatly. It felt like a safe thing to do even though maybe it wasn?t at the time,? Robinson said.
    https://www.kron4.com/wildfires/napa...hennessy-fire/

    NAPA, Calif. (KRON) ? As the Hennesey Fire grew dangerously close to Napa Valley?s oldest winery on Aug. 18, the Sunseri family nervously watched as flames engulfed surrounding hills.

    On Tuesday morning the fire continued to grow and began to burn alongside the eastern portion of the Nichelini Family Winery property located in the Chiles Valley area.

    ?On Tuesday the winds started picking up and around 11 o?clock in the morning the flames just started becoming a firestorm,? said Phil Suneri, a fourth-generation Nichelini family member said.

    ?I came down from northern California to be here and work with my crews and defending the properties and working with my cousins in defending this property.?

    The fires came within feet of the property which sits along Highway 128 in a very remote hillside area.

    In 2017, the family faced a similar situation as the Atlas Fire came close to the winery ? just narrowly missing the property.

    ?There was the Atlas fire and the Atlas peak is only a mile and a half from here,? said Sunseri.

    ?During the course of the fire and getting it under control the north wind would change to the south and it constantly came back to our ranch and it hit within one mile of this property.?

    The winery has since gone through numerous changes in an effort to ensure the 130-year-old property stood any chance against another fire including the removal underbrush and trimming surrounding trees.

    ?We realized then that our fire was susceptible to these kinds of fires and we started implementing a plan after that fire but formally started in 2019,? said Sunseri.

    ?We made a plan in 2019 and we got funding from our corporation with limited funds to do the fire safety plan of removing all the fuel within 200 foot radius of all of structures,?

    ?We finished that in August just in time for this fire.?

    The Nichelini Family Winery was started by Anton and Caterina Nichelini after settling into the property as homesteaders in 1884 and by 1918 had grown the property to 32 acres of Zinfandel vineyards.

    The historic winery has been able to stand the test of time through the help of Nichelini?s 12 children and has since been carried on by generations of Nicelini family members.

    ?Family is really important and to know where your roots are ? but for the Anton Nichelini heirs and all Nichelini?s plus all of our wine patrons, they can feel the history here,? said Sunseri.

    ?This property is an irreplaceable asset ? we always keep in mind that we have to protect this asset because for us to lose this property makes it impossible for us to rebuild.?

    Sunseri tells KRON4 News the winery will go through further renovations to ensure the property can withstand another fire which include an emergency water supply for fire crews to access.

    In the winery?s 130-year history it has never missed a harvest and the family is hopeful that this year is no different.

    ?I think it?s a real tribute to the history of a family and right now with everything we?re going through, family is really really important,? said Sunseri.

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