Hundreds of wildfires and thousands of lightning strikes force evacuations in California

Hundreds of wildfires and thousands of lightning strikes force evacuations in California

THOUSANDS OF people have been evacuated from California as the state experiences some extraordinary-- and dangerous-- weather.

In just 72 hours, 11,000 lightning strikes are estimated to have struck areas in Northern California, and over three hundred wildfires are burning across the state.

The lightning strikes and wildfires are connected, with a cluster of 23 major clusters being blamed on "extraordinary weather" and "all of these lightning strikes", according to California governor Gavin Newsom.

NAPA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 19: The LNU Lightning Complex fire burns in the hills surrounding Lake Berryessa on August 19, 2020 in Napa, California. The LNU Lightning Complex fire is spread over 5 counties and has burned over 124,000 acres. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Thousands of people have been evacuated, and fire crews have worked tirelessly to beat back an quench the fires which threaten peoples homes and livelihoods.

Tragically, one firefighting pilot lost his life tackling the blaze, crashing his helicopter while dropping water in Fresno County, according to The Journal.

The unnamed pilot was working with emergency service company Guardian Helicopters, who partnered with CalFire to help extinguish the devastating fires.

Homes are engulfed in flames in Vacaville, California during the LNU Lightning Complex fire on August 19, 2020.Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

AN estimated 8,000 residents have been evacuated from areas in Solano County, with 12,000 more people told to be prepared to flee if necessary.

CalFire spokesman Chief Jeremy Rahn said the estimated 11,000 lightning strikes in 72 hours marked "a historic lightning siege", and the wildfires have doubled in size, currently affecting 124,000 acres of land.

The out-of-control wildfires come during a brutal heatwave affecting around 80 million people in 10 states.