Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Mendocino Complex Fire now second-largest in California history

Mendocino Complex Fire now second-largest in California history

Nine people have been killed so far, including four firefighters.

As of Sunday morning, Cal Fire had the Ranch Fire at 207,319 acres, a gain of almost 26,000 acres overnight with 23-percent containment.

The Ranch and River fires, which span Lake and Mendocino counties, are burning about 14 miles apart and have destroyed 75 homes.

While containment grew to 47 percent, burned acreage grew over the weekend, as well, now sitting at 164,413 acres burned. New evacuations were ordered in neighboring Glenn and Colusa counties, including an area just east of the boundary of Mendocino National Forest. These backfires give off large plumes of smoke, and their flames have been visible from Ukiah, but it should be remembered that they are a firefighting measure, and though they may appear threatening from the Ukiah Valley, they instead represent progress in containing the fire, and ensuring that it does not actually threaten the valley.

This year, California wildfires have burnt more land earlier in the "fire season" than usual, said Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire director, during a news conference on Saturday. Here are the 10 largest fires in California history.

Meanwhile, firefighters are battling more than a dozen other major fires amid California's hot and dry weather.

Evan Westrup, Brown's spokesman, said the president's tweets do not "merit a response". "Tragedies bring people together".

"California's forests are burning because of past severe drought and current extreme temperatures and weather, worsened by human-caused #climatechange, which you think, in your fantasy world, doesn't exist", tweeted Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute and a frequent critic of Trump's environmental policies. Trump said the water is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. He also encouraged the clearing of trees to stop the fires from spreading.

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Some areas on the fire's southeastern flank in Redding were reopened to relieved residents.

Overall, experts say Trump's Twitter remarks ignore two of the biggest factors in the wildfires: Climate change, which is likely exacerbating the droughts that lead to fires, and increased development near forests that makes the fires more unsafe to life and property.

Through July 29, the agency said it responded to 3,770 fires across 292,455 acres. The whirl uprooted trees and tore roofs from homes, Dykema said.

With several major wildfires burning across California, officials suggested they would decide where to deploy the extra firefighters once they arrived.

A couple of fast-growing wildfires in northern California expanded to more than two-thirds the size of sprawling Los Angeles as more residents were ordered to evacuate their homes and tired firefighters endured high temperatures and gusting winds.

The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park has killed two and has charred about 91,000 acres.

Hundreds of colleagues, family and friends attended a memorial service Saturday in Fresno for National Forest Service Capt. Brian Hughes.

The complex of fire has been less destructive to property than some of the other wildfires in the state because it is mostly raging in remote areas.

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