Biggest ever wildfires in the U.S. grow in California

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Almost 12,000 lightning strikes produced some of the largest in the state’s history wildfires in California. One of them is within a mile of the University of California Santa Cruz. Most of the fires are in the San Francisco Bay area. The biggest, known as the SCU Complex, east of Palo Alto, is covering an area approaching the size of New York City. “Just a day ago, I announced that we are struggling to address the needs of suppressing some 376 fires in this state,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a Friday news conference. “That number has grown to about 560 fires.” More than 40 firefighters and civilians were injured and at least five died. The Governor seeks outside help, even from Australia. Fires keep growing. They have burned over 771,000 acres.

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People are forced to flee their homes. At least 119,000 people have already been ordered to leave. A helicopter pilot died in a crash while on a water-dropping mission in Fresno County on Wednesday.The fire groupings, the L.N.U. Lightning Complex in Napa Valley and the S.C.U. Lightning Complex east of Silicon Valley, are the second- and fourth-largest fires in state history, Cal Fire said. Forecasters with the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office warned that there could be more dry thunderstorms this weekend.