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LNU Lightning Complex Fire Burns In Napa County
The LNU Lightning Complex fire burns in the Napa hills
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At Least Seven Dead and 1.1 Million Acres Burned in California Wildfires

The fires in Napa are the second largest in state history

The wildfires sparked just over a week ago by nearly 12,000 lightning strikes continue to burn today across much of Northern California, with the blaze burning in wine country now ranked as the second largest in state history. As of Monday morning, over 1.1 million acres across the state have been burned, officials say, and at least seven people have died in the fires throughout California.

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Resident Alyssa Medina reacts while looking over the charred remains of her family home during the LNU Lightning Complex fire in Vacaville, California on August 23, 2020
Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images
SCU Lightning Complex Fire
Part of the SCU Lightning Complex Incident wildland fire burns in the hills near Corral Hollow Road in San Joaquin County between Tracy and Livermore
Photo by Doug Duran/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

The Bay Area’s most significant blazes are currently known as the LNU Lightning Complex and the SCU Lightning Complex. According to Cal Fire, the LNU Lightning Complex fire — which cover Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Yolo and Solano counties — is the second largest fire the state has ever seen, and has currently consumed 350,030 acres. Five people are confirmed dead in the blaze, KCRA reports, 871 structures (both businesses and residences) have been destroyed, and an additional 234 others have been damaged.

Many wineries, restaurants, and businesses in the area, which includes cities like Healdsburg, Guerneville and Vacaville, are currently closed, and tens of thousands have evacuated the area, bounced from hotel to hotel in search of shelter. The fires also halted the 2020 Sonoma County grape harvest, the SF Chronicle reports, as vineyards that escaped the flames are still shut down by power outages, shuttered roads, and air conditions that make working outside for any length of time extremely dangerous.

Many farms in the area were in the fire’s path, including many farms in Vacaville’s Pleasants Valley, the Chron reports. The produce that survived, from wine grapes to other fruits and vegetables, may end up unusable due to “smoke taint,” SFist reports, an unpleasant smoky flavor that remains in plant matter after a blaze. As of publication time, CalFire reports that the LNU Lightning Complex fire is 22 percent contained.

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La Borgata Winery owner Gerry Iulano draws wine from a burned barrel amidst the charred remains of his winery during the LNU Lightning Complex fire in Vacaville, California on August 23, 2020.
Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, the SCU Lightning Complex burns to the east and south of San Francisco, in Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Joaquin counties. It’s currently the third largest fire the state has ever seen, Cal Fire says, with two injured, 347,196 acres consumed, and 12 structures (residences and businesses) destroyed. 20,065 are threatened.

USA Today reports that “officials surveying maps at command centers are astonished by the sheer size” of the two fires, with Cal Fire spokesman Brice Bennett saying that “You could overlay half of one of these fires and it covers the entire city of San Francisco.”

LNU Lightning Complex Fire in Guerneville
Downtown Guerneville remains under evacuation order as the LNU Lightning Complex fire continues to burn
Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images
LNU Lightning Complex Fire in Guerneville
Downtown Guerneville aso of August 22
Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Per a press release from the White House, President Donald J. Trump has “declared that a major disaster exists in the State of California,” releasing Federal funding to assist residents of Lake, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties. According to According to CNN, this round of fires has already caused more death and destruction than the state saw in all of 2019.

TOPSHOT-US-WILDFIRES-CALIFORNIA-fire-environment-weather Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

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