Nearly 11,000 lightning strikes, excessive heat sparked fires
August 20, 2020
Many of the wildfires burning in California today were caused by a perfect storm of extreme heat and consequential lightning.
The heat was generated by a strong ridge of high pressure over the western U.S., which also produced an onslaught of thunderstorms and lightning that ignited the blazes — often pushed by strong winds.
In Solano County, a rural area southeast of Vacaville, evacuation orders were given to 8,000 residents — some fled for the first time ever.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years, never had to evacuate before,” resident Tim Lukehart said. “There’s been fires of course, but not like this one.”
California sees annual fires due to a combination including fierce autumn winds, frequent drought punctuated by spurts of downpours, homes or terrain that burn easily.