Firefighters and residents in Northern California received a boost this morning as the predicted bad weather has so far escaped the state.
The humidity rose Monday, the Associated Press reported, and there was no return of the onslaught of lightning strikes that ignited the infernos a week earlier.
The San Francisco Bay area was exposed to an extreme fire hazard warning of extreme fire hazards until late Monday afternoon, amid the threat of lightning and gusty winds, but firefighters said the weather had helped their efforts so far.
“Mother Nature has helped us a lot,” said Billy See, commander of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention for a fire complex south of San Francisco.
However, the National Weather Service has continued to issue a “red flag” for the drought-hit area of Northern California.
Extremely dangerous fire conditions exist, including high temperatures, low humidity, lightning strikes and gusts of wind up to 105 km / h which, according to official information, “can lead to dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior”.
ABC News shared this video of firefighters driving through a devastating fire. According to the news channel, 14,000 firefighters have now been deployed in California.
The San Lorenzo Valley waterfront district, 70 miles south of San Francisco and 10 miles north of Santa Cruz, lost 4.5 million gallons of water after a fire melted a main water main.
KSBW8 reported that the five-mile pipe had melted due to the intense heat from San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.
“Officials from the SLV Water District had to realign the water flow so that firefighters fighting the CZU Lightning Complex fire could access water,” KSBW8 reported. Firefighters have enough water to keep fighting the fire.
The main water break affects around 8,000 residents who were evacuated due to the fire.
The Ranch Fire, which burned approximately 410,000 acres in California in 2018, is the largest fire in the state’s history.
According to the latest statistics from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire), two of the fires burning outside of the San Francisco Bay Area are not far away.
The LNU fire in the wine country north of San Francisco is now just over 350,000 acres and 22% contained, according to Cal Fire:
The SCU Lightning Complex, southeast of San Francisco, extends over 347,196. It is 10% included.
This puts the two flames in second and third place in the largest fires in the state in history.
Triggered by a rare thunderstorm and fueled by hot, windy weatherThe fires have rapidly spread to the Sierra Nevada, southern California and regions north, east and south of San Francisco, writes the Guardian’s Maanvi Singh.
Maanvi wrote a detailed explanation of how the fires started and got out of hand:
A confluence of extreme weather conditions set the stage, said Daniel Swain, a climate researcher at the University of California at Los Angeles. First came a record breaking, sustained heat wave across the state. Temperatures in Death Valley reached 130 ° F and the state experienced power outages for the first time in nearly two decades when millions of Californians tried to cool their homes.
Next, a tropical storm in the Pacific swirled moisture towards California, triggering a rare light storm that zapped California more than 10,800 times over a three-day period, causing small fires in the Bay Area and Northern California. Then the humidity dropped and the wind picked up, fueling the small flames until they erupted into full-blown infernos.
Read the full piece by Maanvi here:
Firefighters in California are not only at risk from the flames that have besieged the state, but they also pose a potential threat to themselves and others.
Public health officials are increasingly concerned that the 12,000 firefighters – many of them overseas – could trigger a super-spreader coronavirus event if they fight the fires, the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
The concerns are complex. Most importantly, nobody wants firefighters to get sick for their own sake. Furthermore, the state cannot afford to withdraw crews from service when human resources are so scarce. With workers coming to the area from across the state and other parts of the country, public health experts fear a “super-spreader” event if someone infected on the front lines brings home the virus.
According to the chronicle, “the fire fighters present a unique challenge”.
Social distancing is difficult as the firefighters live in small shelters where they sleep and eat together. They drive in trucks in flames with their windows up, the newspaper says, and often cannot wear face coverings due to the extreme heat.
“It’s the perfect storm: get people from across the western United States to work together in a common environment and then send them back,” said John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley who also runs the US Forest Service advised.
Nearly 250,000 people are under evacuation orders and warnings in California as three major fires continue to rage in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Firefighters prepare for further damage on Monday as the National Weather Service (NWS) warned that fast-moving storms could lead to a new fire.
Around 650 fires are burning in California, triggered by nearly 12,000 lightning strikes across the state last week and accelerated by a record-breaking heatwave.
The NWS has issued a red flag warning in all parts of Northern California that will last until Monday evening. It warned that extreme fire conditions such as high temperatures, low humidity and wind gusts of up to 100 km / h could lead to “dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior”.
The three fires in the Bay Area raged on more than 200,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and buildings. Seven people are said to have been killed.
In one of the three flames, the fire at the CZU Lightning Complex in the mountains of Santa Cruz south of San Francisco, authorities on Sunday announced the discovery of the body of a 70-year-old man in a remote area called Last Chance.
Meanwhile, the LNU Lightning Complex fire in the wine country north of San Francisco and the SCU Lightning Complex in the southeast of the city have become two of the three largest fires in state history, both burning more than 500 square miles.
The LNU fire was the deadliest and most devastating, with five deaths and 845 homes and other buildings destroyed.