SAN FRANCISCO—Wildfires blazing across Northern California and the greater Pacific Northwest have damaged forests, wildlife, and numerous residences. The Rocky Fires have charred drought-stricken areas and the Lower Lake, Colusa, and Yolo county regions, north of San Francisco and west of Sacramento. 

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency and summoned the National Guard to aid in recovery to contain further damage caused by the wildfires. The wildfires have spanned across 54,000 acres of land as of August 3.

According to the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection, the wildfires have affected 84 square miles as of Monday, August 3. Over 24 homes and 26 outbuildings have been destroyed and 5,000 homes were threatened by the fires. 

According to the Associated Press (AP), firefighter David Ruhl, was killed last week at the scene of a fire located 100 miles south of the Oregon border, and over 8,000 firefighters are currently in the midst of working to extinguish the current fires.

Ruhl’s body was found on Friday, July 31. He was an Engine Captain from South Dakota, and died in the Modoc National Forest while combatting a fire that started 100 miles south of Oregon. According to fire information officer, Ken Sandusky, Ruhl had lost contact with his team while looking for ways to fight the blaze in a vehicle.

It has been reported by the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection that the primary cause of these wildfires has been attributed to lightning sparks. According to the AP, in Humboldt County, 600 firefighters were battling 18 small blazes sparked by lightning, and over 70 fires have been reported since then. 

Close to 10,000 people have been evacuated. There have been no reports of  any injuries. The Rocky Fire is currently 5 percent contained as of Monday, August 3. According to Cal Fire, firefighters are in a statewide lockdown, and will not be permitted to take any time off.