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Tuesday
Aug072018

Mendocino Complex Fire now largest in California history

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The record for the largest wildfire in California history fell on Monday after just eight months as the Mendocino Complex Fire passed the Thomas Fire, from last December, to set the new mark for most acres burned.

The Mendocino Complex Fire in Colusa and Lake counties near Ukiah, California, about two hours north of San Francisco, is now more than 290,600 acres and is only 34 percent contained, Cal Fire reported in its latest update Tuesday morning.

The fire is burning in mostly rural areas, though 143 buildings have been destroyed, including 75 homes, and 26 other buildings have been damaged. Another 11,300 structures remain threatened, according to Cal Fire.

The Mendocino Complex Fire takes the top spot on the list of largest fires in state history from the Thomas Fire, which scorched Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in Southern California just last December. That fire ended up burning 281,893 acres before being contained. The Thomas Fire scorched a much more densely populated area, burning through 1,063 structures and damaging 280 more.

There have been no deaths associated with the Mendocino Complex Fire, which actually began as two separate fires -- the River Fire and Ranch Fire -- before merging into one incident. Both fires began on July 27, according to Cal Fire.

One firefighter and one civilian died in the Thomas Fire, though later mudslides in the region in January 2018 -- caused by the burn scars -- killed 21 more people.

The Cedar Fire, which burned through 273,246 acres in October 2003, is the third-largest in state history and is still the deadliest on Cal Fire's top-20 fires in terms of fatalities directly related to the fire (15).

The Mendocino Complex Fire is one of over a dozen large fires burning in California at the moment. The state's hot, dry conditions are fueling the record-setting blazes.

The Carr Fire has now burned through 164,413 acres and has caused seven deaths, including a power utility worker who died over the weekend and two firefighters. It has destroyed 1,080 residences, according to Cal Fire.

The Ferguson Fire, which has claimed the lives of two firefighters, has burned over 91,000 acres, while the Cranston Fire has burned over 13,000 acres.

The Holy Fire popped up on Monday in Orange County in Southern California and had already spread to 4,000 acres by 8 p.m. with zero percent containment.

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