Wildfires Force Thousands to Evacuate, Worsen Air Quality across Bay Area

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A firefighter battles a blaze at a home on August 19, 2020 outside of Vacaville, California. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

Wildfires raging across northern California forced thousands to flee their homes Wednesday morning.  The most urgent situation unfolded in Vacaville, where a group of fires called the LNU Lightning Complex more than doubled in size overnight and destroyed over 50 homes and threatened nearly 2,000 more. Along with hot temperatures and low humidity, the fires are in part due to a “historic lightning siege,” which, according to Cal Fire chief Jeremy Rahn, included about 10,849 lightening strikes and caused over 367 fires across the state. Smoke from the fires has resulted in poor air quality across the Bay Area bringing the air quality index in San Francisco and Oakland to levels considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. We’ll get the latest on the region’s wildfires.


Ken Pimlott, former chief, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Scott Stephens, professor of fire science, UC Berkeley department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management

Alison Bridger, professor, department of meteorology and climate science at San Jose State University

Julia McEvoy, senior editor, Education and Equity, KQED

Rachael Myrow, senior editor, Silicon Valley News Desk, KQED