Those apocalyptic photos of San Francisco splashed across social media in recent days are just one measure of the impact California’s 2020 fire season is having.
Another is the fact that the state is currently facing three of the four biggest fires in its recorded history. The August Complex, the SCU Complex fires and the LNU Complex fires are numbers 1,3 and 4 of all-time — and still burning. Collectively they have killed 7 people, destroyed over 1,700 structures and scorched more than a million acres of forest.
Where's all this wildfire smoke coming from?
Right now or within the last few weeks, we've had the #1 (August Complex) #3 (SCU), #4 (LNU), #9 (Elkhorn), #10 (North Complex), #18 (Creek) largest California wildfires burning in our vicinity & other fires such as the Dolan (94k). pic.twitter.com/mVFViUZ40D
— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) September 10, 2020
The massive August Complex Fire has been burning in an area that, in 2018, had seen what was until this week the biggest blaze in the state’s recorded history. That was the Mendocino Complex Fire. While the area still has burn scars from the 2018 blaze, the August Complex Fire has raged for weeks across the forests of Mendocino County. It was 24% contained on Monday. On Thursday, it was still just 24% contained and had burned a record 470,000 acres.
August Complex and Hopkins Fire push west, but weather is improving — Island Mountain, Mina under mandatory evacuation order — Garberville under evac warning (updated 9:15pm, 9/9/20) – https://t.co/35nHfLwChH pic.twitter.com/UK7wVT5Use
— The Mendocino Voice (@TheMendoVoice) September 10, 2020
“Significant” northwest winds are pushing the fire westward and funneling its smoke toward the Bay Area.
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) September 8, 2020
The staggering nature of this and other blazes prompted state officials to shut down all 18 of California’s national forests yesterday, including the one in Mendocino.
Due to unprecedented & historic fire conditions in CA, we are temporarily closing an additional 10 National Forests, meaning all 18 National Forests in California are now closed. The closure of the additional ten forests will be effective at 5 pm today. https://t.co/IYi4T9c40l
— Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region (@usfs_r5) September 9, 2020
That closure includes the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino National Forest outside Los Angeles. The Bobcat Fire above Azusa has burned close to 20,000 acres and still sits at 0% containment.
|Update| #BobcatFire – Today, the fire grew to 19,796 acres and remains 0% contained. Crews saw major growth to the Northeast towards the Crystal Lake Area. For more information, please visit inciweb at: https://t.co/bbbvdHamXa
📸 Rob Robledo, USFS pic.twitter.com/cZVdL0TB6R
— Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF) September 10, 2020