The historic California wildfire season rages on with the official formation of the first gigafire. While unseasonably warm temperatures and low humidity continue to fuel the fires, weather forecasters predict relief on the horizon.
Below is the latest on the situation in California.
Historic Gigafire Grabs the Headlines: The August Complex Fire made history on Monday when the massive fire burning in Northern California reached the one million acre mark. This designation moved it from a megafire classification to a gigafire. This is the first time that this term has been used in the state of California, putting the August Complex Fire in the history books.Read More »
The August Complex Fire is not the only story on the record books this year for California. With more than 4 million acres destroyed this year alone, there is no doubt that this fire season will never be forgotten. Five of the six largest wildfires in state history have happened in 2020. As of Tuesday morning, there have been over 8,800 structures destroyed and 31 lives lost as a result of the fires.
Overall State Update: Over 16,400 firefighters are currently working to bring the fires under attack. Tuesday’s Cal Fire update detailed 23 major wildfires along with one extended attack wildfire. Fire crews responded to 35 new fires on Monday but were able to bring them all under full containment.
While temperatures are expected to remain warmer than average over the next few days, there is a bit of relief in the extended forecast. Seasonal temperatures on tap for the weekend and into early next week. Along with the cooler temperatures, forecasts are calling for the chance of precipitation in many areas of California. Fire crews will need to work hard to make progress on containing the smoldering fires when the cool weather sets in because warmer weather is predicted to make its presence known again later in the week.
Air Quality Update: Despite many of the fires getting under control, air quality is still an issue throughout large areas of the state. A significant portion of the Central Valley is under an air quality alert due to the smoke coming from the nearby Creek Fire. This blaze has consumed more than 326,000 acres since it first got its start over Labor Day weekend. The Creek Fire is 49% contained.
The SQF Complex Fire is also contributing to the poor air conditions in the Central Valley. This fire has burned almost 159,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest with only 65% containment.
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While the air quality is not as poor as the Central Valley, parts of Northern California are also still seeing indexes in the unhealthy to locally hazardous category. This smoke is being blamed on the August Complex gigafire.
Progress Being Made: The silver lining in today’s Cal Fire report is the hope that crews are finally getting some control over the Glass Fire and the Zogg Fire, burning in Northern California. The tough Glass Fire is now 50% contained after it has already consumed over 66,000 acres in California’s famed wine country. Just to the east of that blaze, the Zogg Fire is 86% contained after burning over 56,000 acres. Both of these fires are responsible for current evacuation orders.
The Bobcat Fire in Los Angeles County is now 89% contained, bringing relief to weary fire crews in Southern California. The infamous El Dorado Fire, started by the pyrotechnic at the gender reveal party, is now 95% contained.
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