New Evacuations In Sonoma County, Four Deaths Reported In LNU Lightning Complex Fires

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By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

Four people have died in Bay Area wildfires that threaten tens of thousands of homes as limited resources impact the fight.

In all, the LNU, CZU and SCU Lightning Complex fires have collectively grown to nearly 500,000 acres in numbers released Friday morning.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to give a briefing on the fires burning around the state at 11:30 a.m. with the state's top emergency officials.

Solano County Sheriff Sheriff's officials announced one man's death Thursday, but didn't provide additional details. CAL FIRE said three other people died in Napa County. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the bodies were found in a home along State Route 128. The victims have not been identified.

Also, officials reported the death of a Pacific Gas & Electric utility worker Thursday who was assisting with advance clearing. The worker was found dead in a vehicle in the Vacaville area between San Francisco and Sacramento. Earlier in the week, a pilot on a water-dropping mission in central California died when his helicopter crashed.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's office has issued new multiple evacuation orders for the Wallbridge Fire Friday morning. The latest evacuations orders are for the Forestville and Lake Sonoma areas, just a few hours after Forestville had come under an evacuation warning. The evacuations are for two new areas. First, all areas south of River Rd. from Martinelli Rd. to Trenton Rd, west of Covey Rd. and north of Hwy 116/Front St. The second area runs along the western and southern edges of Lake Sonoma.

Officials also ordered evacuations in the Odd Fellows/Forestville/Green Valley Rd. areas Friday morning. People living south of the Russian River, east and north of Hwy 116 and West of Martinelli Rd. have now been ordered to leaveClick here for a map of the orders and warnings.

Evacuations from the CZU Lightning Complex fires expanded Thursday night to include portions of of Scotts Valley and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

CAL FIRE said Scotts Valley residents west of Highway 17, the UC Santa Cruz campus and Santa Cruz County east of Zayante Canyon, west of State Route 17, and south of State Route 35 were to evacuate.

We'll update the latest on fire size, evacuation warnings and orders here.

BAY AREA FIRES
Updated Friday, August 21 at 9:57 a.m.
CZU Lightning Complex

CAL FIRE is now referring to the many fires burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties as the "CZU Lightning Complex," dropping "August" from its name Thursday.
CAL FIRE is now referring to the many fires burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties as the "CZU Lightning Complex," dropping "August" from its name Thursday.

As of Thursday night, the fires have forced more than 64,000 people to evacuate and burned a total of 50,000 acres. They are 0% contained and have destroyed at least 50 structures, although firefighters estimate the number is actually over 100. Another 21,000 structures are in danger and two first responders have been injured.

“This is something that most of us have never seen," said CAL FIRE incident commander Billy See. "I said two days ago, I’m tired of saying historic, I’m tired of saying that I’ve never seen something like this in 34 years of fighting fire.”

The fires burned actively throughout the day Thursday because of low relative humidity and inaccessible terrian. CAL FIRE said "limited resources" have hampered efforts due to "the number of fires burning throughout Northern California." Airborne operations are also limited because of heavy smoke.

Here are the latest evacuation orders for the CZU Lightning Complex.

- Follow @CALFIRECZU for updated evacuation warnings and orders as they come in.

LNU Lightning Complex
This series of fires, which CAL FIRE is calling the "LNU Lightning Complex," includes the Hennessey Fire (merged with the Green, Gamble, Aetna, Markley, Spanish, Morgan and Round Fires) in Napa and Lake counties, the Walbridge Fire (merged with the Stewarts Fire) and Meyers Fire (formerly the 11-16 Fire) in Sonoma County.

As of Friday morning, the fires grew slightly overnight and now total 219,067 acres. Crews have started to make progress in controlling the fire, which is 7% contained. There have been four civilian deaths, three in Napa and one in Solano.

It's estimated at least 480 structures have been destroyed and 125 more are damaged. A staggering 30,500 additional structures are threatened.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's office has issued new multiple evacuation orders for the Wallbridge Fire Friday morning. The latest evacuations orders are for the Forestville and Lake Sonoma areas, just a few hours after Forestville had come under an evacuation warning. The evacuations are for two new areas. First, all areas south of River Rd. from Martinelli Rd. to Trenton Rd, west of Covey Rd. and north of Hwy 116/Front St. The second area runs along the western and southern edges of Lake Sonoma.

Officials also ordered evacuations in the Odd Fellows/Forestville/Green Valley Rd. areas Friday morning. People living south of the Russian River, east and north of Hwy 116 and West of Martinelli Rd. have now been ordered to leaveClick here for a map of the orders and warnings.

Meanwhile Residents on the west side of Healdsburg evacuated as the fire advanced Thursday in the Mill Creek area. Paul Lowenthal with Santa Rosa Fire said as of Thursday night crews were able to keep the fire on the western side of Highway 101 and hope to contain it north of the Russian River.

Vacaville residents living along the western edge of the city were evacuated early Wednesday by firefighters pounding on their doors when a fire burning near Lake Berryessa jumped Mount Vaca and spread into the city. It's thought dozens of homes were burned, but the extent of the damage is unclear as evacuations and damage surveying remains underway.

wildfires
Photo credit Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

The Hennessey Fire in Napa County has exploded to 194,942 acres and is 7% contained. CAL FIRE said Thursday the Green, Gamble, Aetna, Markley, Spanish, Morgan and Round Fires merged with the Hennessey Fire. The fire is burning near Lake Berryessa and St. Helena and was first reported Monday morning at about 6:40 a.m. on Hennessey Ridge Rd. While CAL FIRE officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, a camera from ALERTWildfire captured a lightning strike in the area shortly before the fire was reported.

The Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County is burning west of Healdsburg. It is estimated to be 21,125 acres and is 0% contained.

The Meyers Fire in Sonoma County is burning north of Jenner. It is estimated to be 3,000 acres and is 0% contained.

Here are the latest evacuation orders for the LNU Lightning Complex fire.

- Follow @CALFIRELNU for updated evacuation warnings and orders as they come in.

SCU Lightning Complex
The complex burning in Sunol near the Calaveras Reservoir known as the "SCU Lightning Complex" spreads over Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. The complex includes more than 20 separate fires broken into three zones: the Deer Zone, Calaveras Zone and Canyon Zone. Gusty west winds, warm temperatures and low humidity created difficult firefighting conditions Thursday. CAL FIRE believes the fires will continue to grow into Friday morning with breezy onshore winds.

As of Friday morning, the wildfires had burned a combined 229,968 acres with 10% containment. CAL FIRE said 20,200 structures are threatened, but none have been destroyed.

Here are the latest evacuation orders for the SCU Lightning Complex.

- Follow @CALFIRESCU for updated evacuation warnings and orders as they come in.

Carmel Fire
The Carmel Fire originated off Cachagua Rd. and Carmel Valley Rd., south of Carmel in Monterey County. As of late Thursday, CAL FIRE estimated its size at 4,428 acres. It is still 0% contained.

Here are the latest evacuation orders for the Carmel Fire.

- Monterey County OES is also updating acreage, evacuation warnings and orders.

River Fire
The River Fire is burning south of Salinas spread to 33,974 acres and is 9% contained as of Thursday night. CAL FIRE said crews worked aggressively from the ground and air, but mountainous terrain and winds hampered firefighting efforts. Four firefighters have suffered minor, heat-related injuries. Ten structures have been destroyed with 3,005 still threatened.

Here are the latest evacuation orders for the River Fire.

- Monterey County OES is also updating acreage, evacuation warnings and orders.

Woodward Fire
The Woodward Fire (formerly the 4-6 Fire) is burning in a remote area of the Point Reyes National Seashore adjacent to the Woodward Trail. As of Thursday night, it has burned 2,000 acres and is 0% contained. No injuries have been reported and no structures have been damaged.

Here are the latest evacuation orders for the Woodward Fire.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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