Weary firefighters in California raced on Saturday to slow the spread of wildfires that burned nearly one million acres statewide in a week and destroyed hundreds of homes ahead an expected weather change that could bring more lightning strikes like the ones that sparked many of the blazes.
Responding to the emergency, President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration to provide federal assistance.
Governor 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.
Two clusters of wildfires in the San Francisco Bay Area grew 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.
Since thousands of lightning strikes began on Aug. 15, the state reported 585 wildfires that have burned nearly a million acres, or 4,046 square kilometers, according to reports.
Many were small and remote. The bulk of damage was from three fire “complexes” that were ravaging forest and rural areas in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.
They have burned 2,700 square kilometers. The fires have killed five people, torched nearly 700 homes and other structures and forced tens of thousands from their houses.
Source: News On Air