Fires continued to ravage northern California on Saturday morning around San Francisco, helped by weather conditions that are expected to deteriorate on Sunday with wind and new thunderstorms.
The region’s largest outbreak, the LNU Lightning Complex, located north of San Francisco, is now the second most devastating fire in California history, with more than 127,000 hectares destroyed.
The 1,400 firefighters on site made progress in their fight against the fire on Friday and the disaster was now 15% contained, up from 7% on Friday morning, according to the California firefighting agency CalFire.
Even though it has mostly crossed uninhabited areas so far, the LNU Complex has already destroyed 560 buildings and caused the death of 4 people. In total, this week’s fires killed at least 5 people in California.
Southeast of San Francisco, another blaze, the SCU Lightning Complex, not far from San Jose, was also raging, having already reduced to ashes more than 118,000 hectares, favored by the dry heat that reigns in the inland. Friday night, it had been 10% content.
Also in the area, along the coast south of San Francisco, near Santa Cruz, a third major fire, the CZU Lightning Complex, resulted in the evacuation of approximately 77,000 people.
In total, more than 119,000 residents have had to leave their homes since the fires started, which started after a series of thunderstorms that struck the state with more than 12,000 lightning bolts in 72 hours.
At a press briefing on Saturday morning, Santa Cruz County authorities said more favorable weather conditions had enabled firefighters to better contain the fire and protect homes.
But the respite is expected to be short-lived, as the national weather forecasting service, the National Weather Service, on Saturday issued an alert for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The region is expected to experience wind gusts of up to 100 km / h, likely to accelerate the progression of the flames.
Another risk factor, new thunderstorms are expected over the next three days, the NWS warning that “lightning would probably start new fires in the region, including in remote areas”.