Mendocino Complex Fire Now Largest Wildfire in California’s History

Mendocino Complex fire (Noah Berger / AFP / Getty)
Noah Berger / AFP / Getty

The Mendocino Complex fire, a fire made up of two adjacent blazes, became the largest wildfire in California’s history on Monday, reaching 283,000 acres by Monday evening.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported:

The Ranch fire, the larger of the two fires that make up the Mendocino Complex fires, grew to 235,000 acres Monday, Cal Fire officials said. Only 21 percent of the fire had been contained by nightfall.

To the southeast, the River fire remained in check Monday, scorching 48,800 acres, Cal Fire said. It was 58 percent contained.

For the past 11 days, the two fires have disrupted countless lives across a large stretch of Northern California. Smoke could be seen throughout the Bay Area on Monday and deep into the Central Valley as the northern flanks of the Ranch fire advanced deeper into the Mendocino National Forest, leveling woodland brush and conifers. Meanwhile, its southeastern arm threatened Lake County homes that were terrorized by forest fire only a month ago.

The fires have now destroyed 75 homes and 68 other structures, though it was not clear if the increase resulted from new losses Monday or ongoing efforts to assess destruction from the fires that erupted July 27. Flames threatened 11,300 structures Monday, hampering efforts by county officials to transfer evacuees out of shelters established in local schools in time to make room for students scheduled to return to class next week.

The Mendocino Complex fire is only one of several wildfires to have hit California in recent weeks. As Breitbart News reported earlier this week, those fires include the massive Carr fire near Redding, and the Cranston fire near Palm Springs, which was only recently contained.

The Associated Press counts 18 fires at the moment, being fought by 14,000 firefighters. Six firefighters have died thus far in 2018 in California, according to the New York Times.

One of those is the curiously named Holy fire, which only broke out on Monday in Orange County and is named for the nearby Holy Jim Canyon.

Californians remain puzzled by President Donald Trump’s tweet earlier this week, when he suggested that Gov. Jerry Brown was wasting water that could have been used to fight the fires. He reiterated that criticism on Monday:

The original tweet from the president appears to have been deleted.

Though activists have blamed climate change for the extent of the fire, the original cause was apparently a flat tire on a roadway. A car with a flat tire sent sparks into the brush when the rim of the wheel hit the road, officials say.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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