Things are not going well in California. On top of the pandemic that everyone is dealing with, the state has been experiencing a “lightning siege.” More than 10,000 lightning strikes were reported in the past 72 hours, which has set off hundreds of new fires.
There have been about 10,849 lightning strikes in California over the last 72 hours, a “historic lightning siege” that has caused more than 367 new fires, Chief Jeremy Rahn, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said at a news conference. Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 23 of those fires are considered major blazes.
In Vacaville, a city of about 100,000 residents near Sacramento, people were ordered to flee as a combination of uncontrolled fires northwest of the city began to overtake homes. That group of fires, known together as the L.N.U. Lightning Complex, has destroyed more than 50 homes and is threatening nearly 2,000 more, the authorities said.
In Vacaville near Sacramento, people woke up in the middle of the night to find the fire had crept up to their homes.
Clayton Jack, 31, a professional wrestler who lives in Vacaville, said he was woken up by a house guest around 2 a.m. on Wednesday and immediately smelled smoke in the air.
“I go outside and see the big, red, orange glow on the hill and then I see tons of light,” Mr. Jack said. “And then I see a bunch of cop cars that were driving up and down the street.”…
“I was able to grab my dog, my own stuff, my laptop, my camera and then just from there I drove off,” he said.
Here is some video of what it looks like in Vacaville today:
This fire burning north of #Vacaville reminds me of Santa Rosa in 2017. When people went to bed, the fire was miles away. The winds blew it over Mt Vaca & all of a sudden it’s right here. Middle of the night evacuations with a route out that looks like this. #LNULightningComplex pic.twitter.com/kpxVQGdL2F
— Katie Nielsen (@KatieKPIX) August 19, 2020
Another video of someone fleeing as the fire burns across the road:
PRAYERS UP 🙏 FOR CALIFORNIA FIREFIGHTERS AND ALL THE PEOPLE AND ANIMALS FLEEING THESE WILDFIRES! #CaliforniaFires pic.twitter.com/xcc74TdpbY
— Lynn Manyfires (@LynnManyFires) August 19, 2020
This reminds me of the images of people fleeing the Paradise fire.
Over the weekend the fires even sparked several fire tornadoes:
A rarely photographed fire tornado was spotted in Lassen County, California, amid massive wildfire burning so hot that it generated its own thunderstorm. https://t.co/EzPZTlUt5g pic.twitter.com/Oi9mnYPCSD
— ABC News (@ABC) August 17, 2020
That Vacaville fire has now spread to 50,000 acres and that’s just one of many fires that are burning across the state right now. The San Francisco Chronicle has a fire map which gives the latest stats on 17 fires. Gov. Newsom declared a statewide emergency yesterday
This local news report includes an interview with a woman who tried to escape the fire in her car but the car caught on fire. She and her husband had to escape the rest of the way on foot. Below that is a video produced by the LA Times which says there are 30 major fires currently burning in the state.