Raging California Blaze Becomes Largest Wildfire in State's History

Two neighboring fires cover nearly the size of Los Angeles.

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The Mendocino Complex Fire has collectively become the largest fire in California history, state officials now say. In eleven days, the fire has burned through approximately 290,692 acres. According to the , it is 34 percent contained.

The Mendocino Complex is actually two fires that are close to each other on either side of a small lake: the Ranch Fire to the north of Clear Lake, and the River Fire to the south. The fires together have destroyed 75 homes and 68 other buildings. It's worth noting that while the Mendocino Complex is the largest fire in state history, it's far from the most destructive in terms of property: that would be the Cedar Fire of 2003, which more than 2,400 homes.

Speaking in a yesterday, Cal Fire Information Officer Scott McLean said that "this fire continues to burn very, very actively."

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The state of the two fires as of yesterday, August 6.
Cal Fire
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An air tanker dropping retardant on the Ranch Fire.
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A fire truck running through the Mendocino Complex.
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Of the two fires, firefighters have had greater success combating the River Fire. It now stands at 78 percent containment, with fire teams focusing on the northern part of the fire. Fire teams have been able to shift their resources to the Ranch Fire, which stands at only 20 percent containment. The Ranch Fire continues to grow toward the north, south, and east, making it a growing threat to nearby communities.

Fire season is never easy on California, but this year has been unusually brutal. In addition to the record-breaking Mendocino Complex, there is the still-active Carr Fire, which ripped through the northern town of Redding with a fire tornado. It has burned through 164,116 acres and destroyed 1,604 structures.

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This year’s fires have greatly expanded over last year’s.
Cal Fire
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Embers are all that remain on a hillside after the Ranch Fire.
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A deer runs to escape the Ranch Fire.
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A house goes up in flames as the Ranch Fire continues to burn.
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Scientists, and those fighting the fires, have global warming with the increased temperatures that have created a more welcoming climate for fires. Increased temperatures have meant warmer nights, giving the environment less time to recover from a day's heat. While President Trump has tried to connect the fires to a lack of water in the state, the response from the state has been one of puzzlement.

"There are no specifics to the tweet," Cal Fire said in a . "We have plenty of water to fight these fires. The Carr fire has Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta Lake, and Trinity Lake just to name a few water sources. The Mendocino Complex is next to Clearlake Lake. The current weather is causing more severe and destructive fires."

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