With weather changes including more wind threatening to add even more life to the 560 wildfires now burning out of control throughout the state, firefighters and aircraft from 10 states have started arriving in California.
Some of that help will be directed toward the Santa Clara Unit (SCU) Lightning Complex burning in the Diablo Range southwest of Manteca. That fire — along with a cluster in the Napa-Sonoma area — are now considered to be among the biggest fires in California in more than a century.
The 20 fires started in the SCU Complex by some of the 11,000 plus lightning strikes that hammered Northern California seven days ago have now burned 279,968 acres or 429 square miles. That is nine times the area of San Francisco and closing in on the 503 square miles that constitute the City of Los Angeles.
The fire is only 10 percent contained. It is now threatening 30,500 homes in Santa Clara County including many on the east side of San Jose plus 8,200 homes in Stanislaus County.
CaFire had previously issued an evacuation order for San Joaquin County residents south of West Corral Hollow Road to the Stanislaus County line, west of Interstate 580 to the Alameda County line and east of the Alameda County line to I-580 and the Stanislaus County line.
There are mandatory evacuations for 17,150 people.
The fires are also threatening communications; transportation, power and gas distribution infrastructure; public schools; fire stations; regional parks; and watersheds; and the Lick Observatory.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency Friday authorized the use of federal funds to help California fight the fires that officials now fear could become a major incident and burn into urban neighborhoods.
Smoke and soot from the fires prompted the City of Manteca to close the Lincoln Park swimming pool today and Sunday. The city cooling center at the Transit Station at 220 Moffat Blvd. is now scheduled to remain open from 1 to 9 p.m. through Wednesday.
The LNU Lightning Complex in the Napa-Sonoma area and the SCU Lightning Complex, became respectively the second- and third-largest wildfires in recent state history by size, according to Cal Fire records.
Cooler, more humid weather overnight helped firefighters on Friday make ground against the fires but the National Weather Service issued a fire weather watch from Sunday morning into Tuesday for the entire Bay Area and central coast.
Forecasters said there was a chance of thunderstorms bringing more lightning and erratic gusts.
More than 12,000 personnel were fighting fires around the state, aided by fleets of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. By Friday, Cal Fire, had called out 96% of its available fire engines. Gov. Gavin Newsom said 10 states were sending personnel and equipment. The governor also said he was reaching out to Canada and Australia for help.