The SCU and LNU Lightning Complex fires have traded off the number-two and number-three spots a couple of times this week on the list of the biggest wildfires in California history. And once again the SCU Complex in the East/South Bays and the Central Valley has moved to the top.
Meanwhile, a damage assessment map is now available for the LNU Complex in the North Bay, though assessments are still being conducted. And the CZU Complex in Santa Cruz County saw some "slop-over" at containment lines on Thursday.
LNU Lightning Complex
The LNU Lightning Complex fires gained some containment lines Thursday to rise to 35-percent contained and 371,249 acres overall. Hot spots in the fire continue to be around the Napa/Lake county border just east of Highway 29, south of Middletown, and the Colusa/Yolo county border northwest of Rumsey, and due east from Clearlake.
A damage assessment map — still in progress and shown above — shows that the majority of destroyed homes are clustered in the wooded area west of Dry Creek, and due west of Healdsburg, and the areas around the southern and southeastern sides of Lake Berryessa in Napa and Solano counties. In total, 1,080 structures have been confirmed destroyed. (Find the interactive map here.)
The Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County continues smoldering, and rose to 25-percent contained on Friday morning. The Press-Democrat has a new story about how a group of residents in Cazadero "fired up bulldozers" and took it upon themselves to cut fire breaks in the dense woods last week in the early hours of what would become the Walbridge Fire.
SCU Lightning Complex
The complex of fires that spans Alameda, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties grew overnight to 372,971 acres — about 1,600 acres more than the current size of the LNU Complex. It stands at 35-percent contained, with no containment gained since Thursday morning. As KPIX reports, the fires continue to threaten 20,000 structures, but only 48 have been confirmed destroyed so far.
The northern hot spots in the fire near Fremont appear to have gotten less hot since Thursday, though the area east of Morgan Hill in Henry W. Coe State Park still appears to be burning hot.
CZU Lightning Complex Fires
Fires continue to burn around Ben Lomond and Bonny Doon in Santa Cruz County, and as KPIX reports via an early morning news conference with Cal Fire, the burn zone has grown to 82,540 acres, with 26 percent containment. The fire has so far destroyed at least 554 homes.
SCU Complex Operations Chief Mark Bruton said at the conference that firefighters had a "setback" yesterday when they had 30 acres of "slop over" in which a lot of dry debris on the forest floor caught fire and crossed over a containment line. This "duff," as they call the debris sitting on top of the soil, was knee high in some places as a result of there being no fire in this area for many years — another argument for having more regular controlled burns the way indigenous Californians used to do it.
"When we put our control lines in we scrape those lines down to the bare mineral soil," Burton said. "You really have to have those lines very deep, it almost becomes a trench at some point."
The Woodward Fire in West Marin remains only 8-percent contained, with no containment gained since Thursday morning. As the Marin Independent Journal reports, two firefighters were injured while battling the blaze on Thursday, and the fire now stands at 2,860 acres, the same size as 24 hours earlier.
Complicating matters, a five-foot diameter Douglas fir tree fell across one of the firefighters' main routes in and out of the fire area, on Bear Valley Trail, on Thursday.
Air quality is expected to worse in San Francisco, San Rafael, and elsewhere on Friday and Saturday as a result of this fire.