Nearly 11,000 lightning strikes in reportedly 72 hrs ignite 300 fires across California. The fires have spread through wildlife, destroyed homes and forced thousands to flee on Wednesday.
Reportedly, a firefighting helicopter was killed in a crash as hundreds of lightning blazed. This is the heaviest row of thunderstorms to hit California in over a decade. According to authorities, around two dozen of them have grown into major flames.
In a news conference on Wednesday, California Governor Newsom said, “What has occurred over the last 72 hours has certainly stretched the resources of this state.”
This week, the fires have come at a record-breaking heatwave with temperature surpassing past 100 degrees every day.
The Division Chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) Jeremy Rahn said, “Over the past 72 hours, California has experienced a historic lightning siege.” He added that more than 10,849 lightning strikes had ignited 367 new fires since Monday. And “resources are depleted as new fires continue to ignite.”
However, thousands of residents were under mandatory evacuation by a bunch of nine wind-driven fires in four stricken county areas.
In the press conference, Cal Fire Chief Deputy Director Craig Tolmie said, “One thing to consider is we’ve gone almost a week without fog in a county that gets fog almost every day. That has a big impact on our firefight. We don’t have the fuel recoveries at night. We have the higher temps at night and this is really the alignment of worse case scenarios.”