Approximately 10,849 lightning strikes have sparked 367 new fires in California over the past 72 hours, Cal Fire spokesperson Jeremy Rahn said in a news conference. In all, Cal Fire estimates that over 300,000 acres have burned.
The LNU Lightning Complex is a group of many separate fires in Northern California, stretching over five counties. Some of those fires are believed to have merged for an estimated 42,000 burned acres.
Evacuations are ongoing throughout the region, yet officials do not have a clear number on exactly how many people have been told to leave their homes. The day’s priorities are firefighter and public safety, evacuation planning, and structure and infrastructure protection, Chief Chris Waters outlined.
“This is an incredibly emotional and stressful time for many of us who have endured many fires and natural disasters over the last couple of years,” Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said. “We realize that this is a trigger point for many of you.”
Hot, dry winds and resources that have been stretched thin will hamper today’s efforts, an incident commander said. Cal Fire has requested 375 fire engines from out of state to assist in the battle.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that the lightning strikes sparked 367 new fires in California overnight. It happened over the past 72 hours.