Northern California wildfire is now the largest in the state's history

Last month California experience what was described as a “lightning siege” with more than 10,000 strikes recorded over 72 hours. Here’s a map of the strikes across northern California:


Because of the heat and the dry foliage those strikes set off more than 350 separate fires. Dozens of those fires grew and gradually merged into major wildfires. Currently the so-called August Complex has burned nearly half a million acres and as of yesterday is the largest wildfire in the state’s history.

The August Complex Fire is a combination of 37 fires sparked by lightning in Mendocino National Forest on Aug. 17, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement. It has so far burned 471,185 acres and is 24 percent contained.

Forest Service spokesman Terry Krasko suggested that the fire may actually be bigger. He said an airplane with infrared capabilities that measure the size of a blaze was out of service Thursday.

The fire became known as the August Complex Fire about five days ago, when numerous blazes combined, Krasko said. Many smaller fires have been extinguished, he said, but larger parts of the fire, including the Doe Fire, continued to grow Thursday afternoon.

Cal Fire published this graphic showing six of the top 20 fires in the state’s history have happened this year and all six are still burning:


Here’s an interactive map showing where all of this is happening. Three of the biggest fires are all north of Sacramento. The August Complex is #4:

A local newspaper, the Mendocino Voice, reports that because of the severity of the situation, firefighters are now being called in from other countries:

Carlson mentioned that over the past few weeks, the August complex has brought in as many resources as possible. “But everyone is short on resources,” Carlson said. “Many fires are threatening homes and burning homes. There’s a limited number of teams and resources.”

However, during tonight’s meeting, a spokesperson said that international firefighting coordination efforts have been activated and that likely, firefighters from Canada, Mexico, and Australia will soon arrive to help fight the fires in the western U.S. However, they don’t know exactly when those firefighters will arrive or where they will be assigned to.

Because of the scale of these fires and the fact that massive fires are also burning in Oregon right now, nearly the entire west coast has been covered in a blanket of smoke:


That smoke has created some very unusual lighting effects in places like San Francisco:

Drone footage:

This is 11 am in the city:

This person took a photo of the sun from Sacramento:

And at some point, a lot of this stuff is going to settle lower in the atmosphere. The prediction for air quality in Los Angeles for the coming week looks really bad:


Here in southern California where I live, the smoke isn’t as thick, so the sky isn’t orange but for the past 2-3 days the air has had a noticeable yellow tint which makes the entire outdoors look like it has been put through an Instagram filter. Ash has been collecting on all of the cars in the neighborhood. We’re really only getting a fraction of what they’re seeing up north but even that is pretty unnerving.

Update: This is crazy. A local news reporter shot this in a little town near Salem, Oregon on Tuesday.

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