Los Angeles | The thousands of American, Canadian and Australian firefighters deployed in California to try to contain the gigantic fires which have ravaged this state for several days progressed Monday in the face of the flames, taking advantage of more favorable weather conditions than expected.
In total, according to State Governor Gavin Newsom, more than 485,000 hectares, or the size of the Grand Canyon, have been reduced to ashes by the 625 ongoing fires.
Of those 625 fires, 17 are considered major, he added, including the LNU Lightning Complex and the SCU Lightning Complex which both became the largest fires in California history.
The first erupted north of San Francisco on August 8 and was 22% under control on Monday afternoon; the second, which erupted the same day, southeast of San Francisco was only 10% contained at the start of the day.
Another major fire – the CZU Lightning Complex – has reduced areas closer to the coast to ashes.
Most of these fires were caused by lightning strikes and heat records in central and northern California. They have destroyed more than 100 houses and other structures and pose a threat to 100,000 additional buildings, according to the authorities.
In total, some 14,000 firefighters were dispatched to the site, from California but also other American states, Australia and Canada, to try to contain the fires. On an unprecedented scale, these occur relatively early in the season, which usually lasts from August to November.
The high temperatures and low humidity that fueled the flames last week eased somewhat on Monday, providing relative respite for firefighters. The thunderstorms, which were scheduled for Sunday and for three days, did not finally occur, but the authorities urged the population not to let their guard down.