“Thank you to the President for your partnership and granting this urgent Major Disaster Declaration. California is battling two of the largest fires in our history and has seen nearly 600 new fires in the last week caused by dry lightning strikes. These are unprecedented times and conditions, but California is strong – we will get through this,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said Saturday.
California has been hit by 585 wildfires, two of which are in the top 10 largest in the state’s history.
The LNU Lightning Complex has burned 314,207 acres, according to Cal Fire, while the SCU Lightning Complex had burned 291,968 acres.
There are now roughly 13,700 firefighters working to contain the wildfires, and at least 10 states have sent ground or air support.
The Presidential Major Disaster Declaration provides federal funding to help state and local governments with their emergency response. It also makes support, such as crisis counseling, unemployment assistance and housing available to people in impacted areas.
The fires don’t appear to be slowing down. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the San Francisco Bay area and Central Coast from Sunday morning to Monday evening.
“These erratic gusty outflow winds can lead to potentially dangerous and unpredictable fire behavior on existing wildfires while additional lightning strikes may result in new wildfire starts,” the NWS’s warning said.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Thom Porter also warned that the state is in for a battle the next couple of nights at least.
“The worst is not behind us, we are in a battle rhythm. New lightning activity is expected across the state. Double your efforts, to lookout for yourselves and each other!” He tweeted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.