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article imageCalifornia's Mendocino Complex fire now largest in state history

By Karen Graham     Aug 7, 2018 in Environment
Two small blazes burning through Northern California have grown at breathtaking speed to form a massive inferno, quickly becoming the state’s largest active wildfire and setting a new mark for destruction.
The two fires making up the Mendocino Complex Fire merged near Ukiah, north of Sacramento, exploding by 25 percent overnight and blackened nearly 400 square miles as of Sunday morning,
By Monday, the Mendocino Complex fire had burned through 283,800 acres (114,850 hectares) - an area nearly the size of the sprawling city of Los Angeles, and in the last update, on Monday night, was only 30 percent contained. At least 175 homes have been destroyed.
The catastrophic inferno does not appear to be slowing and is being fueled by low humidity, triple-digit temperatures and winds blowing across wide swaths of tinder-dry vegetation. It has now spread to three counties and is surrounding a river and parts of neighboring reservoirs.
“There are some challenges that firefighters are facing near the fire and in the area of the fire. We have strong, erratic winds, and what that’s doing is blowing embers, and it’s spreading the fire,” Capt. Thanh Nguyen, who’s acting as spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
"Today a higher pressure system brought warmer weather, drying, and strong winds to the region," CalFire said in the latest evening update. "Tonight fire crews will try to take advantage of the lower temperatures to increase suppression and hold current containment lines."
The Carr Fire in Redding has now burned over 163,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and is 45 percent contained. Seven people have died in the Carr fire, including two first responders and a great-grandmother and her two grandchildren.
And of Monday, a new fire broke out, this time in Orange County, where firefighters battled the so-called Holy Fire that expanded to more than 4,000 acres. The Holy Fire started in the Cleveland National Forest. Fire crews from Australia and New Zealand arrived in California on Monday, according to the US Forest Service-Pacific Southwest Region.
The Ferguson Fire, near Yosemite National Forest, is now in its third week. This fire has killed two people and injured 11 others. Many parts of the popular park are closed indefinitely at this time, officials announced on Sunday. The Ferguson Fire is only 39 percent contained.
"Over the past 48 hours, fire has impacted all of the roads used to access Yosemite Valley, burning dead and downed trees that can become very explosive and fall without warning," according to the National Park Service.
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