At Least 5 Dead in California Wildfires as More Than 200,000 Acres Burn Across the State

The set of wildfires are currently burning across five Northern California counties after nearly 11,000 lightning bolts struck the state and helped spark the fires

California Wildfires
Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty

A series of wildfires in California spreading across more than 200,000 acres has now claimed the lives of at least five residents in the state.

According to a Friday news release from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire, three people in Napa County and one person in Solano County have died. The Fresno County Sheriff's Office reports that a pilot on a water-dropping mission also died Wednesday when his helicopter crashed.

The death of the resident in Solano County was reported Thursday by Sheriff Thomas A. Ferrara and Daniel Berlant, a Cal Fire assistant deputy director, confirmed the deaths of the three civilians that died in Napa County, according to the Associated Press.

The set of wildfires, known as the LNU Lightning Complex, are currently burning across five Northern California counties — Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Yolo and Solano — after nearly 11,000 lightning bolts struck the state this week alone and helped spark the fires.

California Wildfires
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More than 30 civilians and firefighters have been injured and an additional set of two people are missing, the AP reported.

The fire currently remains at seven percent containment in Napa County while zero percent has been contained in Sonoma County, according to Cal Fire.

The set of wildfires have grown to 219,067 acres as of Friday morning and have destroyed at least 480 homes and other structures while damaging at least 125 more, they added in their statement. Another 30,500 structures are threatened.

California Wildfires
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the wildfires during a news conference on Wednesday, the AP reported, sharing, "We are experiencing fires the likes of which we haven't seen in many, many years."

In response to the fires, Newsom issued a statewide emergency on Tuesday "to help ensure the availability of vital resources to combat fires burning across the state."

"We are deploying every resource available to keep communities safe as California battles fires across the state during these extreme conditions," he said. "California and its federal and local partners are working in lockstep to meet the challenge and remain vigilant in the face of continued dangerous weather conditions."

Newsom has already secured Fire Management Assistance Grants  (FMAGs) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help with the fires in Napa, Nevada and Monterey County, and has also signed an emergency proclamation and executive order to address the impacts of the ongoing heatwave, according to the press release.

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