Major fires to east, west, and north threaten thousands

Massive, uncontained fires in the mountains and hills both west and east of the Santa Clara Valley – combined with another early season firestorm in Solano County – led to a severe deterioration of the area’s air quality Wednesday, with the harmful effects expected to last at least through the weekend.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the region’s air monitoring agency, extended its ‘Spare the Air’ alert through Sunday. That bars burning wood or other fuels indoors or outdoors. To see up-to-date air quality readings, click here.

Throughout Wednesday, air quality across the Bay Area, including in the West Valley was among the worst in the world. Particulate readings regularly crossed into the ‘Unhealthy’ level, with officials calling on residents to stay indoors. The added factor of a waning heat wave made for uncomfortable conditions in many homes.

CZU Lightning Fire to the west

In the mountains west of Cupertino, the CZU Lightning Complex fire spread rapidly overnight. At a media briefing Thursday morning, CAL FIRE officials said the situation was unlike anything they’d seen before. More than 22,000 have been evacuated as of Thursday morning.

Evacuation centers are set up at Half Moon Bay High School, the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. For up-to-date evacuation orders on the CZU fire, click here.

SCU Lightning Fire to the east

To the east, the SCU Lightning Complex fire was at 5% contained as of Thursday morning. Officials said the fire embers were rapidly spreading flames, with more than 137,000 acres burned. A number of evacuation areas in Santa Clara, Alameda, and Stanislaus Counties continue to expand.

Evacuation centers are operating at Creekside Middle School in Patterson, Milpitas Library, and Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill. Santa Clara County set up a hotline for information at 408-808-7778 and a resource website here. To see CAL FIRES website on the SCU fire, click here.

Given the number of major fires burning across Northern California, mutual aid is hard to come by. Governor Newsom said Wednesday that he has asked for support from neighboring states.