Lightning storm, easterly wind: How the wildfires got so bad

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Two unusual weather phenomena combined to create some of the most destructive wildfires the West Coast states have seen in modern times. First was a dramatic lightning storm over Northern and Central California. Thousands of bolts ignited hundreds of fires in parched grasslands and vineyards. Then, warm, dry winds blew toward the West Coast — not the usual direction. One month after the lightning storm set the stage, firefighters are still battling the blazes. At least 34 people have died. About 5,300 square miles have burned this year in California. That’s more than ever before, according to Cal Fire. In Oregon, the figure is about 1,560 square miles, nearly double the 10-year average.