Sparked by freak thunderstorms, the blazes changed wind patterns and could potentially lead to fire tornadoes and pyrocumulonimbus clouds.
CALIFORNIA IS, ONCE again, burning. A freak summer thunderstorm last weekend swept through the northern part of the state, sparking nearly 400 wildfires, many of which have turned into conflagrations of stunning scale. As of Friday morning, two groups of wildfires, the SCU Lightning Complex near San Jose and the LNU Lightning Complex near Napa, have burned 230,000 acres and 220,000 acres, respectively—that’s 700 square miles total. Fire crews are stretched far too thin to deal with this many wildfires at once and have barely contained any of those blazes. In Santa Cruz, the CZU August Lightning Complex has burned an additional 50,000 acres and has led to mass evacuations. Five people have been killed.