California's 2020 wildfire season is worse than 2019's, Newsom says

During a briefing on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state has battled 7,002 wildfires in 2020, compared to 4,292 fires in 2019.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California is seeing a historic amount of wildfires this year which have scorched 1.4 million acres and forced thousands from their homes all amid an ongoing pandemic.

During a briefing on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state has battled 7,002 wildfires in 2020, compared to 4,292 fires in 2019.

Approximately 14,000 firefighters are currently on the front lines of 625 fires, Newsom said, including firefighters from the Central Valley.

RELATED: Track wildfires across Central California and the state with this interactive map

The governor said the state has secured a presidential major disaster declaration which will help make more resources available from other states. A total of 375 engines have been requested from around the country, including Arizona, Washington and Oregon.

Two of the largest fires in the state's history are burning in Northern California, Newsom said. The LNU Lightning Complex Fire has charred 350,000 acres as of Monday, and the SCU Lightning Complex Fire burned 347,000 acres. CAL FIRE and local firefighters are also battling several wildfires that have sparked in Central California, including the Hills Fire in western Fresno County, the Moc Fire near Mariposa County and the Castle Fire in Tulare County.

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As coronavirus numbers drop, several counties have been removed from the COVID-19 watch list, including Napa and Orange counties. Newsom said more counties could be removed from the list this week.

Amid the start of an already deadly fire season, the state is also dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The governor said evacuees are being split between hotels and shelters to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

California saw 4,946 new coronavirus cases on Monday and a positivity rate of 6.5% over the last 14 days. Newsom has previously said the state needs to see positivity rate 5% or less to consider reopening business sectors statewide.

The number of counties on California's monitoring list decreased over the weekend to 36. However, all five of the Central Valley counties remain on the list.

WATCH LIST: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse

Hospitalizations were down 20% in the state and ICU admission rates decreased by 19%.

California has reported more than 660,000 positive coronavirus cases as of Monday.

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