Speed Reads

california fires

Thousands of lightning strikes sparked hundreds of fires in California

There are 367 separate fires now burning in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said on Wednesday, and many are believed to have been sparked by dry lightning strikes that have been hitting Northern and Central California since Sunday.

California officials said that over the last 72 hours, there have been about 10,849 lightning strikes in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports. One of the biggest blazes is the Hennessey fire in Napa County, which started on Monday. It has since spread to two other counties, Solano and Yolo, destroying 50 buildings, damaging 50 structures, and forcing thousands to evacuate.

It's been a "very active" fire season, Newsom said, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection shared that so far this year, more than 300,000 acres have burned in the state, compared to 270,000 acres in all of 2019. Firefighters are battling the blazes amid a brutal heat wave that has been gripping the state since last week, causing record highs in Death Valley, Santa Ana, Burbank, and Woodland Hills.