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California Wildfires

State of Emergency Declared in California as Nearly 30 Fires Burn Across State

Record-breaking temperatures, rolling blackouts and mass evacuations taking place in several counties.

Vehicles catch fire in front of a burning home along Peaceful Glen Road during the Hennessy fire in Solano County, California, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. More Northern Californians were chased out of their homes by lightning-sparked wildfires that burned out of control in several counties amid a punishing heat wave that pushed temperatures into the triple digits. (Philip Pacheco/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Vehicles catch fire in front of a burning home along Peaceful Glen Road during the Hennessy fire in Solano County, California, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. More Northern Californians were chased out of their homes by lightning-sparked wildfires that burned out of control in several counties amid a punishing heat wave that pushed temperatures into the triple digits. (Philip Pacheco/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mass evacuations are taking place in many places as nearly 30 fires burn across the state of California Wednesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as extreme weather conditions flare up dozens of fires across the state, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.

Dry lightning strikes and gusty winds have exacerbated the blazes as the state endures a historic heatwave, with the National Weather Service issuing an excessive heat warning for much of the West Coast. Sweltering conditions prompted rolling power outages over the weekend, with officials citing concerns over the state’s electrical supply.

The SCU Lightning Complex Fire, comprised of 20 fires across the East Bay and Central Valley, has burned at least 85,000 acres, more than doubling in size overnight. The fire was 5% contained as of Wednesday morning. North of San Francisco, the LNU Lightning Complex Fire has consumed 46,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma Counties and destroyed or damaged at least 100 structures. The fire is 0% contained.

The governor’s emergency declaration will make resources available to assist with fire relief efforts and lift certain restrictions to procure out-of-state supplies. The California National Guard has been mobilized for the response.

“We are deploying every resource available to keep communities safe as California battles fires across the state during these extreme conditions,” said Newsom in a statement Tuesday.

Direct Relief is in contact with emergency response agencies throughout the state and is offering assistance, should it be needed.

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