Mendocino Complex Fire Now Fourth Largest in California History

Geneva Stokes
August 7, 2018

One of the 17 major wildfires burning in California, the Mendocino Complex Fire grew to be the second-largest wildfire in the state's history Monday, officials said. Officials have confirmed that six people, including two firefighters and a woman and her two great-grandchildren, have died.

The Mendocino Complex fire is burning close to the shoreline of Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake entirely within the state of California.

Experts are blaming the prolific fires on climate change, saying that hotter weather is drying out vegetation, creating more intense flames that spread quickly from rural areas to cities and towns. The Mendocino Complex is next to Clearlake Lake.

"California wildfires are being magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized", Trump wrote on Twitter.

"We are routinely now seeing fires reach 100,000 acres several times in one month and it's only July, so we have a long way to go in this fire season, and as we saw a year ago fire season can go right up through December". It's just 21% contained and is growing fast, jumping at least four creeks, a major road and a fire line in a six-mile stretch this weekend.

Reinforcements have been called in to fight 16 large wildfires in California, with the Army sending 200 soldiers to battle the blazes from the air.

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A new fire erupted Monday in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, and prompted the evacuation of two canyons and some campgrounds as it expanded into the Cleveland National Forest.

In Shasta County, the Carr fire located near Redding, California has burned entire neighborhoods and forced thousands to flee. Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service have been working together for several years to clear millions of dead, beetle-infested trees in forests across the state to eliminate fuel for potential fires.

At the same time, firefighters have pulled back in the uninhabited national forests to the north, where they have cut fire lines and are employing indirect methods.

Firefighters by Saturday night had managed to contain 41% of the Carr blaze, measured at 58,680 hectares, and authorities were allowing some evacuees to return, Cal Fire said.

Hurley said some temperatures could reach 43 C in Northern California over the next few days with 24 km/h winds fanning the flames.

The disaster declaration that Trump approved for California on Sunday makes available federal funding to state, local and tribal governments "on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the fix or replacement of facilities damaged by the wildfires and high winds in Shasta County". "Picking and choosing where we think we can take a stand", McLean said. "It's making for some extreme fire behavior", Powers said. The Complex has now grown to 273,664 acres with 30% containment, and CalFire has confirmed the destruction of 75 residences and 68 other structures - though this number should continue to climb as CalFire teams enter burned out areas to make a careful accounting of the situation.

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