A Country on Fire
Wildfires are now burning across a dozen states, where more than 100 active large fires have burned more than 4 million acres. In California, there are currently more than two dozen major wildfires at varying levels of containment. Hundreds of fires have burned over 3 million acres in California alone and the worst of fire season is still ahead in September and October. Three major fire systems burning in California are nearly contained: the CZU /Lightning Complex (San Mateo, Santa Cruz counties); the LNU Lightning Complex (Lake, Sonoma, Napa, Solano counties); and the SCU Lightning Complex (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara counties). The August Complex Fire, the largest in California’s history, has consumed more than 817,000 acres, and continues to burn. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state has seen more than 7,600 wildfires so far in 2020.
Hundreds of homes, businesses and other buildings have burned to the ground, at least 35 deaths have been reported, many more are missing and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate as hot, dry and windy weather across the West has left parts of California, Oregon and Washington under siege from what is being called an unprecedented fire season, far surpassing any season on record. Entire communities have been obliterated while smoke and ash have made the air dangerous to breathe. The fires are being described as “apocalyptic” as the threats from climate change become all too real for many residents of the three states. At the same time. California is also working to slow a resurgence of the Global COVID Pandemic.
Americares Emergency Team is responding.
CalFire firefighters from Santa Cruz work to contain fire near a home on Bonny Doon Road while fighting the CZU August Lightning Complex fire in Bonny Doon northwest of Santa Cruz. The fire was sparked by lightning and has burned throughout broad regions of rural San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. (Photo by David Royal)