More than 1M Acres Burned, Seven Confirmed Deaths as Wildfires Rage in California 

Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires leap above Butts Canyon Road on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, in unincorporated Lake County, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
AP Photo/Noah Berger

Lightning strikes have sparked hundreds of wildfires in California over the past week, with more than 1 million acres scorched and at least seven deaths reported.

Nearly 250,000 people have been asked to evacuate and 845 homes and other buildings have been destroyed.

The Associated Press reported on the fires:

California over the last week has been hit by 650 wildfires across the state, many sparked by more than 12,000 lighting strikes recorded since Aug. 15. There are 14,000 firefighters, 2,400 engines and 95 aircraft battling the fires.

Fire crew made slow progress battling the blazes over the weekend, which included a break in the unseasonably warm weather and little wind. But the National Weather Service issued a “red flag” warning through Monday afternoon for the drought-stricken area, meaning extremely dangerous fire conditions including high temperatures, low humidity, lightning and wind gusts up to 65 mph that officials said “may result in dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior.”

Officials surveying maps at command centers are astonished by the sheer size of the fires, said Cal Fire spokesman Brice Bennett.

“You could overlay half of one of these fires and it covers the entire city of San Francisco,” Bennett said on Sunday.

Aside from the first law enforcement officials said that people are taking advantage of fire victims by looting homes and businesses left behind.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said in the AP report that officers would arrest anyone anyone not authorized to be in an evacuation zone.

“What we’re hearing from the community is that there’s a lot of looting going on,” Hart said.

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