Wildfires ignited by dry lightning have scorched over 1.25 million acres in California thus far. Fire officials are battling 650 active blazes, which began on August 15 and have taken seven lives and destroyed more than 1,400 structures. Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are being advised to stay indoors, as thick billowy smoke from surrounding fires in all directions has inundated the entire region. Firefighters have been working 24-hour shifts in an effort to battle and contain the numerous blazes. Two massive infernos still burning in San Jose and the North Bay are among the three largest ever recorded in the state – destroying over 715,000 acres combined, with another 78,800-acre blaze burning southward from San Mateo toward Santa Cruz.
As of Tuesday, there seems to be some hope with rising humidity levels, weakening winds and lower temperatures. Some evacuation orders are being lifted as residents in Sonoma County are being permitted to return home. Some parts of Napa County where evacuation orders have been mandatory were reduced to warnings and Santa Clara County has lifted its warnings. Red flag fire danger warnings remain in effect for parts of Northern California as well as Oregon, Nevada and Montana – due to threats of dry lightning combined with other conditions conducive to igniting more infernos.
Ann Sullivan is a contributing staff writer covering national and world news topics. She brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.