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In photos: California wildfires scorch 771,000 in one week

California has endured more than 12,000 lightning strikes this week along with broken temperature records, resulting in 560 known wildfires spread across the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

What's new: The blazes are overwhelming the state's capacity to cope, with at least five deaths linked to the fires. Roughly 771,000 acres have been scorched and air quality is dismal, according to Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency.


The state of play: As of Friday morning, the largest blaze, dubbed the LNU Lightning Complex, charred over 200,000 acres, growing by 4,000 acres overnight.

  • The CZU August Lightning Complex, has resulted in evacuation of more than 64,000 people, according to Cal Fire. In Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, roughly 48,000 residents were required to evacuate.
  • As of Thursday evening, the University of California at Santa Cruz was put under mandatory evacuation and declared a state of emergency.
  • The River Fire in Monterey County was 9% contained as of Friday morning, as it consumed over 39,000 acres, prompting mandatory evacuations there, too.
  • The LNU wildfire has torched over 219,000 acres throughout Sonoma, Lake, Napa and Solano counties and is 7% contained.
  • The blaze near Vacaville, known as the Hennessey Fire and part of the LNU Lightning Complex, has been one of the most destructive, burning down homes and claiming the life of a PG&E worker assisting first responders.
  • This same blaze has damaged hundreds. of structures and Cal Fire reported three civilian fatalities associated with the LNU Lightning Complex Thursday evening.
  • Solano County's Travis Air Force Base, which has over 14,000 military members and civilian employees, said late Wednesday it ordered all "non-mission essential personnel" to evacuate, as the LNU Lightning Complex — or collection of many small fires — neared.

Newsom declared a statewide emergency Tuesday after the National Interagency Fire Center, which coordinates federal firefighting efforts, was put on its highest level of alert.

The big picture: While is only the beginning of the state’s wildfire season, the current collection of wildfires across California has proven particularly problematic amid the ongoing global pandemic.

More photos: Fires burn across California

A Pacific Gas and Electric firefighter walks down a road as flames approach in Fairfield, California during the LNU Lightning Complex fire on August 19. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/Getty Images
A cabin near Little Basin Road and Highway 236 goes up in flames in Boulder Creek, Calif. Photo: MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images
A home burns in Vacaville on Aug. 19. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
A resident protecting his property as the LNU Lightning Complex of fires burn through Fairfield on Aug. 19. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Firefighters monitor flames as they approach a residence in the valley area of Vacaville on Aug. 19. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
Firefighters attempt to stop a grass fire from jumping a road in Vacaville on Aug. 19. Photo by Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images
The site of the Hennessey Fire on Aug. 19 in Vacaville, California. Photo: Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The Lake Fire in the Angeles National Forest, by Lake Hughes, 60 miles north of Los Angeles, California on Aug. 15. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter performs a water drop close to power lines, to extinguish hot spots from the Lake Fire at Pine Canyon Road in the Angeles National Forest on Aug. 15. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images
Firefighters battle the Lake Fire near Lake Hughes, California, on Aug. 15. The National Weather Service said Californians can expect excessive heat through Wednesday. Photo: Nick Ut/Getty Images
Firefighters work at night cutting trees and removing vegetation in order to make a firebreak as they battle the Lake Fire on Aug. 15. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images
A pyrocumulus cloud forms atop a smoke plume near the Ranch Fire on Aug. 15, as seen from Azusa, California. The fire has razed some 2,500 acres and has yet to be contained, according to CalFire. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
A scorched statue in front of a home razed by the fire on Aug. 13. It's one of several properties and vehicles destroyed along Pine Canyon Road west of Lake Hughes. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

The United Kingdom became on Wednesday the first Western country in the world to license the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use.

What they're saying: "Today’s emergency use authorisation in the UK marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19," said Albert Bourla, the chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer, per the Guardian.

  • "This authorisation is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the UK."

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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