• Sat. Oct 31st, 2020

California fire crews, aided by cooler weather, report ‘great progress’ against LNU, SCU lightning complex fires – USA TODAY


Firefighters continued to gain ground Sunday against the nearly two dozen wildfires blazing in California — including the two complex fires in the San Francisco Bay Area that have burned more than 750,000 acres and forced hundreds of thousands of evacuations.

“Overall, firefighters [are] making great progress. We’ll continue to see containment efforts go up,” Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said on Twitter.

Evacuation orders have been lifted or downgraded to warnings for the LNU Lightning Complex Fire in the state’s wine country in the Napa Valley, north of San Francisco. But more than 60,000 people remain under mandatory evacuation throughout the state.

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire, which began Aug. 17, has burned 375,209 acres, destroyed over 1,200 homes and killed five people, according to Cal Fire. It was 56% contained as of 2 p.m. PT Sunday.

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Meanwhile, the SCU Lightning Complex Fire, east of San Jose, has burned 377,471 acres across five counties since igniting on Aug. 18. It was 50% contained.

A third complex fire near Santa Cruz, the CZU, had burned nearly 85,000 acres and was 35% contained as of Sunday afternoon.

Cooler weekend weather helped fire crews, Cal Fire said. But temperatures are forecast to reach nearly 100 degrees this week, with gusty winds that can lead to “critical fire weather conditions,” the National Weather Service said.

The NWS issued a red flag warning with gusty winds and low relative humidity expected in interior Del Norte County and far northeast Humboldt County in Northern California from 5 p.m. Sunday local time through 11 a.m. Monday.

“Over the next week or two we will be at the climatological peak of fire weather season in northwest California, and fuel conditions are near or exceeding critical thresholds over much of our area,” the weather service said.

Contributing: The Associated Press