The blaze has scorched 314,000 acres in five counties: Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Yolo and Solano. It is second in size to the Mendocino Fire in 2018, which blackened 459,000 acres.
The currently uncontained CZU complex fires near Santa Cruz and the nearby and SCU complex have blackened 291,000 acres thus far, making it already the 3rd largest fire in the state’s history.
The fourth-largest wildfire in the state’s history is the 2017 Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties that burned 281,000 acres.
That means the state has seen its four most destructive blazes ever in the past four years.
The LNU complex fire has destroyed 560 structures, threatens another 30,000 and has resulted in three fatalities. The lightening-sparked blaze is being battled by over 1,400 firefighters and is 15 percent contained.
From the Cal Fire LNU update on Saturday morning:
Significant fire growth is expected…Extreme fire behavior with short and long range spotting are [sic] continuing to challenge firefightig efforts. Fires continue to make runs in multiple directions and impacting multiple communities. Multiple fires have merged on the north side of Lake Berryessa into the Hennessey Fire, and continue to actively burn with critical spreads and is [sic] moving into large areas of timber.
A “complex fire” is a network of fires burning in a given area that may or may no merge. The LNU Complex includes the Hennessey Fire, which is burning in Napa and Sonoma County. That blaze merged on Thursday with the Gamble, Green, Aetna, Markley, Spanish Morgan and Round fires. LNU also includes the Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County, which merged on Thursday with the Stewarts Fire.
On Friday, an ancient stand of the world’s tallest trees fell victim to California’s raging wildfires. The CZU and SCU complex fires near Santa Cruz have ravaged Big Basin State Park. Big Basin is California’s oldest state park and home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco.
Earlier on Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked the President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster in his state.
“We have a federal request in…a bipartisan request to get a major disaster declaration here in the state of California,” he said.
Newsom that declaration would, of course provide more funds to the state, but also allow it to be more “flexible” in its wildfire response.
On Friday, the governor said the state was battling 560 blazes. According to state fire officials, they’ve responded to 56,000 wildfires in 2020 so far. As of Friday, 96 percent of Cal Fire engines were committed to blazes around the state.
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