A wildfire in Northern California is the biggest in the state's history
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
While dozens of wildfires are burning across California, the August Complex Fire — currently raging in Northern California — has become the largest wildfire in state history.
Nearly 500,000 acres have burned in the Mendocino National Forest east of Redding and Chico, an area equal to about 736 square miles.
The August Complex was initially 37 separate fires that ignited from a lightning storm on Aug. 17. Many of those smaller fires merged to create larger complex. Containment is currently estimated at 24%.
Three fires currently burning in the state are in the top five of California’s all-time list:
August Complex in Mendocino, Tehema, Lake and Glenn Counties (currently burning)
Mendocino Complex in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa and Glenn Counties (2018)
SCU Lightning Complex in Santa Clara County (currently burning)
LNU Lightning Complex in Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties (currently burning)
Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties (2017)
1:15 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020
The US West Coast has the worst air quality in the world right now
Early morning satellite images from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveal that the wildfire smoke continues to blanket most of the US West CoastThursday morning.
Because of this, the air quality remains moderate to even hazardous across this region, includinginall major cities on the West Coast.
Hazardous air quality — which are areas with Air Quality Index (AQI) values of PM2.5 pollution well above the hazardous level of 300 — are being reported across the region. Some locations have readings reaching over600.
These values constitute the worst air quality readings anywhere in the world at this moment, according to monitoring services such as Purple Air and AQICN.
Keep in mind that AQI may not account for larger particles such as ash, says the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
More detailed images show that the smoke is settling in and not moving out of the area anytime soon, meaning the smoke will be around Thursday and into the weekend.
As the winds begin to shift today through this weekend, some of the smoke will move further inland.
At least 3 dead: Officials said they are working to recover the remains of three people who died in Butte County in the North Complex Fires.
Up from last year, thanks to climate change: Statewide, more than 2.5 million acres have been scorched statewide this year alone, according to Cal Fire, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has pointed to climate change as a primary factor in the wildfires plaguing his state. This time last year, California saw 4,927 fires that burned 118,000 acres, according to the governor. In 2020, there have been 7,606 blazes so far.
National parks closed: Yesterday, all 18 national forests in the state were ordered closed due to the "explosive growth" of wildfires, a notice from forest service officials said. Those temporary closures encompass more than 20 million acres of land.
11:42 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020
The thick smoke layer is expected to keep temperatures down across portions of California
From CNN's Judson Jones
The winds have died down, improving wildfire conditions across California. Dry weather will continue to prevail, though, as wildfires continue to produce a smoke blanket across much of the state. This smoke is having an effect on the weather forecasts across the region, typically reducing what would be higher temperatures.
"Don't be surprised by high-temperature forecast busts in this regime," the National Weather Service in Hanford said.
The smoke from the fires in the region will not only continue to make for poor air quality; it will also hamper the temperature forecast in the region. Thicker smoke will make it cooler than the temperature should be because of the blocked the solar insolation, the Hanford weather office said.
Unfortunately, the dry weather conditions, one ingredient for fire growth, will continue across this region.
Across the Los Angeles metro, temperatures are forecast to be above normal through the weekend. But, wildfire smoke in the area could keep temperatures closer to normal, says the National Weather Service in Los Angeles.
Winds will remain offshore but are not forecast to be a strong as Wednesday's winds.
Smoky and hazy conditions will likely prevail in the San Francisco Bay Area through the week's remainder, says the weather office in San Francisco.
Thursday morning smoke was still mixing in with fog and a deep marine layer of clouds.
Fire conditions are improved today across Northern California, but the smoke is likely to hang around. Friday and Saturday could see reduced smoke concentration allowing temperatures to rise a bit higher than average. But this highly depends on the direction of the wind and how much smoke remains over the region, says the Sacramento weather office.
Resources "by the millions of dollars" already going to families impacted by wildfires, Pence says
From CNN's Maegan Vazquez and Kevin Liptak
Vice president Mike Pence addressed what the federal government is doing to assist with ongoing wildfires across the west, telling Fox News Thursday morning that the Trump administration is working closely with governors of impacted states.
“We’re working very closely with governors in states that are effected. I think when Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted a disaster declaration, President Trump approved that in roughly 24 hours. We’ve issued 22 separate federal fire support grants and we’ve already got resources by the millions of dollars that are flowing to impacted families,” Pence said.
He continued, “But look, my daughter and son-in-law live in California. Our hearts go out to all of those enduring or threatened by these fires and I want to assure everyone that we’re going to make sure that those courageous firefighters, that homeowners and businesses have the full support of the federal government.”
President Trump has yet to offer any public statement of support during historic wildfires. The President last weighed in the devastating fires in California in the middle of August, when another round of blazes was burning north of the Bay Area. His familiar response was to blame the state’s forest management.
“They’re starting again in California,” he said at a rally. “I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up."
10:31 a.m. ET, September 10, 2020
The winds will shift Thursday, but the air remains critically dry in Oregon
From CNN's Judson Jones
Wildfire weather conditions are beginning to look more favorable across Oregon as the winds start to shift from an offshore to an onshore flow and will improve even more moving into the weekend.
The air, however, will remain dry and temperatures in some areas could climb to near triple digits. The only thing that could keep Medford, Oregon, from reaching 100 degrees today will be the blanket of smoke across the region.
Conditions across the current wildfires in southern Oregon will remain unstable and very dry, allowing them to create their own weather patterns.
Red-flag warnings in these areas will remain through the afternoon and into the evening Thursday.
It is difficult to forecast where the smoke will be most hazardous across the state, except, of course, for areas that are close to active fires.
West winds this afternoon and into Friday will begin to move the smoke further inland.
Here's how you can help people impacted by the wildfires
From CNN's Lauren Lee
Wildfires are wreaking havoc on California, Oregon, and Washington, killing at least seven people and forcing tens of thousands of people into shelters amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Various non-profit organizations are responding to assist displaced residents and help with recovery. To support all of the organizations helping out, click on the button above or click here.
The Red Cross is working in all three states providing meals, health services, comfort and other support for affected residents.. The organization is accepting donations and looking to enlist thousands of volunteers to help during wildfire season.
Due to the pandemic, long-term needs like rehousing and income recovery may be particularly difficult for fire victims. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is allocating funds to help.
The California Fire Foundation's Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program accepts donations to help those affected by the fires. The organization provides $250 gift cards to eligible victims.
The hottest day of the week across the critical fire area in Washington
From CNN's Judson Jones
After setting and tieing record high temperatures yesterday, some of the same locations across western Washington will see even higher temperatures Thursday.
"Persistent high pressure coupled with another day of offshore flow will result in the hottest day of the week today and another day of critical fire weather conditions," the National Weather Service in Seattle said.
A red-flag warning remains in effect through this evening because of the hot and dry conditions.
"In western Washington, significant growth on existing fires takes place under such conditions," the weather office said.
Friday, the winds will finally shift to onshore, raising the humidity, lowering the temperatures and ultimately lowering the fire risk.
However, this wind shift won't likely diminish Washington's plight with smoke. Instead of experiencing smoke from Washington's own fires, it could mean smoke from the Oregon ones.