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California Wildfires Cover 1 Million Acres In A Week As Storms Expected To Fan Flames

In the course of just one week, wildfires blazing across the state of California have burned through nearly one million acres statewide, destroying hundreds of homes ahead of an expected storm system heading toward the state that could bring more high winds and lightning strikes.

Two clusters of wildfires in the Bay Area have grown to become the second- and third-largest wildfires in recent state history by size.

Light winds and cooler and more humid nighttime weather helped fire crews make progress on those fires and a third group of fires south of San Francisco ahead of the forecast of warm, dry weather, erratic wind gusts and lightning, state fire officials said.

Weary firefighters in California raced Saturday to slow the spread of the blazes as President Donald Trump 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.

Calm weather overnight allowed firefighters to make progress against a trio of massive wildfires burning in Northern California, but they were bracing for a weather system Sunday that will bring high winds and thunderstorms that could spark new fires and fan existing blazes that destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and other structures and forced tens of thousands to evacuate.

Source: The Guardian

The “complexes,” or groups of fires, burning on all sides of the San Francisco Bay Area, were initially sparked  by lightning strikes – some of roughly 12,000 strikes registered in the state in the past week. The National Weather Service issued a “red flag” warning through Monday afternoon for the drought-stricken areas across the Bay Area, meaning extreme fire conditions, including high temperatures, low humidity and wind gusts up to 65 mph “may result in dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior.”

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