California wildfire home losses leap as evacuees return to torched houses

By Andrew Hay (Reuters) - California firefighters made progress Wednesday containing some of the largest wildfires in state history but reported a jump in the number of homes destroyed by blazes, which have killed seven people statewide. Cooler temperatures helped firefighters battle the largest blazes in the San Francisco Bay Area as state wildfire authority Cal Fire reported 1,700 houses and other structures now incinerated across the state. A wildfire in redwood rainforests north of Santa Cruz was one-fifth contained with the number of structures incinerated rising over 60 percent to 538, Cal Fire said.

Reuters August 27, 2020 02:11:11 IST
California wildfire home losses leap as evacuees return to torched houses

California wildfire home losses leap as evacuees return to torched houses

By Andrew Hay

(Reuters) - California firefighters made progress Wednesday containing some of the largest wildfires in state history but reported a jump in the number of homes destroyed by blazes, which have killed seven people statewide.

Cooler temperatures helped firefighters battle the largest blazes in the San Francisco Bay Area as state wildfire authority Cal Fire reported 1,700 houses and other structures now incinerated across the state.

A wildfire in redwood rainforests north of Santa Cruz was one-fifth contained with the number of structures incinerated rising over 60 percent to 538, Cal Fire said.

"Our home and a lifetime of art, photos and treasured family things are completely lost," tweeted social media user Cheryl Isaacson after her house was burned by the CZU Lightning Complex fire.

Across Northern and Central California over 15,000 firefighters from half a dozen states battled two dozen large fires sparked by a siege of over 14,000 dry-lightning strikes since Aug. 15.

The barrage of strikes during record temperatures started over 700 wildfires, brought on by record temperatures, that have burned an area larger than the state of Delaware.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday blamed climate change for the 1.4 million acres of the state burned so far in 2020, an area 25 times larger than this time last year.

In the north Bay Area, nearly 1,000 homes and structures, many in farms and vineyards, were incinerated in the wine country of Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties.

Television images showed piles of rubble and gray ash where homes had stood after the LNU Lightning Complex fire raged across hillsides around Lake Berryessa, about 40 miles west of Sacramento.

That fire, the third-largest in California history, jumped to 33% containment overnight as nearly two dozen bulldozers and around 1,700 firefighters carved earth containment lines and set controlled burns to create fire breaks.

In the south Bay Area evacuation orders were lifted for communities in Santa Clara, San Joaquin and Alameda counties where the state's second largest fire in history was 25 percent contained after burning an area larger than Los Angeles.

Statewide the number of people under evacuation orders fell to around 120,000.

(Reporting by Andrew Hay; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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