By Jake Pierce, Good Times News Editor
Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that California’s firefighting crews are now trying to suppress 560 fires, most of them stemming from dry lightning strikes that first began Aug. 16.
Statewide, 771,000 acres—an area the size of Rhode Island—have burned over the past week.
“These fires are stressing our resources, stressing our personnel,” Newsom said during a press conference, regarding the LNU Lightning Complex fires that are burning in Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Lake counties. Yesterday, Newsom was in Watsonville, where he gave his address for the Democratic National Convention after visiting the evacuation center at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
Fire conditions may improve slightly as the weather cools, he said, but he also said the state could see more dry lightning, due to a new monsoon pattern.
As containment at fires in southern California has improved, state officials have begun shifting crews to northern California and to the Central Coast, where the fires are currently much worse.
Newsom thanked states that have provided mutual firefighting and equipment, including the states of Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Texas. Those crews are on their way, he said.
Newsom mentioned that, on a trip through Santa Clara County yesterday, he saw San Jose firefighters, as they made a pit stop. He said they looked wiped out when they told him, “We need more support.”
“They were simply overwhelmed by what they saw,” Newsom said. “They were on a quick stop. They were getting some gas and getting some drinks. And they said, ‘We’re just going to the hotel down the block. We’re taking a shower, and we’re told we have to get right back on the line.’”