Report: Twin blazes Calif.’s largest wildfire in history

Fire near California natural gas pipeline forces evacuation
KCAL-KCBS via CNN

Authorities say twin fires known as the Mendocino Complex Fire have become California’s largest wildfire in history.

No one has been injured in the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of two fires — the Ranch Fire and the River Fire — burning a few miles apart and have grown to 283,800 acres in several counties in Northern California.

The fires have grown about 80 percent since Friday night. As of Monday evening, it was 30 percent contained and had destroyed 75 residences.

The Mendocino Complex Fire has now surpassed last year’s Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as the largest fire in Cal Fire history.

Exhausted firefighters across the state are trying to contain 16 major fires that are burning in hot, dry and windy conditions. More than 14,000 firefighters are battling the wildfires across California.

On Monday, another fast-moving fire ignited in the state — this time in Orange County, where firefighters battled the Holy Fire that expanded to more than 1,200 acres. That fire started in the Cleveland National Forest and evacuations in the nearby areas have been ordered, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

The Carr Fire claimed its seventh victim Saturday when a Pacific Gas & Electric worker died while working with a crew to restore power, utility spokesman J.D. Guidi said.

Parts of Redding were damaged by the Carr Fire, which has burned more than 164,413 acres. The fire was 47% contained as of late Monday, according to Cal Fire. The Carr Fire, now in its third week, is the sixth most destructive in the state’s history, having destroyed more than 1,600 structures, according to Cal Fire.

Another major fire also burning in Northern California, the Ferguson Fire, extended into its third week. This fire has killed two people and injured 11 others. And it prompted the indefinite closure of some of the most popular parts of Yosemite National Park, officials announced on Sunday.

“Over the past 48 hours, fire has impacted all of the roads used to access Yosemite Valley, burning dead and downed trees that can become very explosive and fall without warning,” according to the National Park Service.

The Ferguson Fire started on July 13. Of the 91,502 acres burned, firefighters have contained about 38%, according to authorities.