As California Wildfires Grow, Mendocino Complex Becomes Largest Wildfire in State History

The so-called Mendocino Complex prompted new evacuations in Lake and Mendocino counties amid fears that hot, windy and dry weather conditions could fan the flames. There are at least 18 major fires burning throughout California, authorities said.
The Mendocino Complex is comprised of the Ranch Fire in Mendocino County, which has burned 367 square miles and was 21 percent contained as of late Monday. Nearby, the River Fire has burned 76 square miles and was 58 percent contained. Combined, the Mendocino Complex far surpasses the size of the deadly Carr Fire burning near Redding, California, and has burned an area larger than Dallas.

Nearly 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate in Lake and Mendocino counties as the blazes encroached on several towns surrounding Clear Lake. New evacuations were ordered in neighboring Glenn and Colusa counties, including an area just east of the boundary of Mendocino National Forest.
The Mendocino Complex has destroyed at least 75 homes, 68 other structures and threatens 9,300 buildings, Cal Fire said.
Authorities are investigating what caused the fires.

Carr Fire Death Toll Rises to 7

The death toll in the so-called Carr Fire, burning west of Redding, some 150 miles north of Sacramento, rose again over the weekend. Officials said a utility worker, identified as Jairus Ayeta, died Saturday in a vehicle-related accident while working to restore power in an area impacted by the blaze, according to the Associated Press.
It was the seventh death blamed on the wildfire, which has destroyed more than 1,600 structures, 1,080 of which are homes. More than 1,200 homes are still threatened by the blaze.
The inferno reportedly started when a tire blew on a tractor-trailer, which caused a spark as the rim of the tire struck the asphalt, CNN reported.

The Carr Fire is now the sixth most destructive wildfire in state history, according to Cal Fire records. It's also the 13th-deadliest and 12th-largest wildfire the Golden State has seen since records began.
The inferno was 45 percent contained as of Monday, according to Cal Fire. It has burned at least 255 square miles of land, an area larger than the city of Chicago.
On Saturday, California Gov. Jerry Brown toured the region and asked President Donald Trump to declare a major disaster. The declaration would make more federal funding available for fire response and provide assistance to evacuees who have suffered losses due to the fires.

Ferguson Fire Keeps Parts of Yosemite Closed

Another wildfire, known as the Ferguson Fire, has burned nearly 143 square miles near Yosemite National Park as of Monday. Two people have died in that fire, which is 38 percent contained.
A portion of the national park, which has been closed since last week, is expected to remain closed indefinitely.
"Park administrators and fire managers have made the decision to extend the current park closures indefinitely," said the National Park Service in a statement obtained by the AP. "Fire managers are continuously assessing conditions in the area and will work directly with and will immediately advise park managers as conditions change and it becomes safe to reopen."
The northern third of the park remains open, but it is still the most extensive closure since 1997, when flooding forced a two-month closure.


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