Saturday, it was confirmed the LNU Lightning Complex and SCU Lightning Complex fires became the second and third largest wildfires in the state’s history. Newsom before the weekend also pleaded to Canada and Australia for help to contend with this "unprecedented moment" in time.
In a press conference just before the weekend, Governor Newsom stated that he's asked both Canada and Australia for assistance in battling these truly dystopian infernos. Recent estimates show that some 13,700 firefighters are currently battling wildfires across the state — with thousands more needed. This "unprecedented moment," per Newsom, in the state's history has already claimed six lives, injured at least 43 people, and leveled hundreds of structures... all while displacing over 100,000 Californians across the state.
2020 lightning siege day 7. The worst is not behind us, we are in a battle rhythm. New lightning activity is expected across the state. Double your efforts, to lookout for yourselves and each other! EVERYONE, head on a swivel. WE'VE GOT THIS! @CAgovernor@CAL_FIRE @Cal_OES pic.twitter.com/mYb46jyM9E— CAL FIRE Chief Thom Porter (@CALFIRE_CHIEF) August 22, 2020
Currently, 96 percent of the state's fire engines are in use and fire crews from ten states have sent assistance since Friday. It's unclear whether or not Canada and Australia will offer help and, if so, to what degree (or how much) that aid might be.
Regardless, CAL FIRE Chief Thom Porter says "the worst is not behind us, we are in a battle rhythm."
For more updates on the wildfires, read our roundup of the most pressing news and statistics to come out today:
- The LNU Lightning Complex fire is now over 314,207 acres and 15 percent contained. [CAL FIRE]
- The SCU Lighting Complex fire is now over 291,968 acres and 10 percent contained. [CAL FIRE]
- The CZU Lighting fire is now over 63,000 acres and 5 percent contained. [CAL FIRE]
- Due to COVID-19, the incarcerated — a cohort California has historically leveraged for civil services — are unable to help battle the blazes in their usual numbers. [New York Times]
- An area the size of Rhode Island has now burned inside the state. [BBC News]
- President Trump has declared the wildfires burning in California a major disaster, the White House announcing Saturday that federal aid will soon be coming to Californians displaced by the wildfires. [Sacramento Bee]
- More lighting storms and strong winds are possible early Sunday, the National Weather Service now issuing several weather watches and red flag warnings to areas already set ablaze. [USA Today]
And don't forget: monetary donations — especially those given in cash amounts — are needed above all other types of charity right now.
Image: Joanne Francis