Northern California wildfire grows to become largest in state history

07 August, 2018, 12:55 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Firefighters fight to save a structure on New Long Valley Rd as the Ranch Fire burns near Clearlake Oaks California on Aug. 4 2018

The raging Mendocino Complex fire has officially become the largest wildfire in California's history, authorities have confirmed. That follows the deaths of two firefighters and four civilians.

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

California has long had problems with fires during the summer but climate change has been blamed for the hotter weather and extremely dry vegetation which have aided them. Brown has also sought a presidential disaster declaration for the areas around the Mendocino Complex fires.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that fast-spreading fires "are being magnified" by "bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized".

The Ranch Fire was just 22 percent contained and the River Fire was 50 percent contained.

"We broke the record", said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with Cal Fire.

The fire remained several miles from the evacuated communities along the eastern shore of the lake, but "it looks like there's dicey weather on the way", California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Jane LaBoa said.

Neither the drought, nor California's water management policies, have stopped firefighters from using all the water they need to fight this year's wildfires, experts say.

At the southeastern end of the fire, where it began, the area has been burnt out and mopped up, and no fire threat remains, which allowed for the opening of Hwy. 20.

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California's battles over divvying up water in the arid state are unending, but a battle between firefighters and the Pacific Ocean hasn't been one of them, according to Jay Lund, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Davis, and a longtime analyst of the state's water wars. It has already destroyed 75 homes and threatens 9,300 structures.

"It's the embers, not the fire itself, that destroy most homes", said Steve Conboy, a construction expert whose company develops fire-resistant chemicals to apply to wood.

According to the LA Times and CalFire, however, the water used for irrigation in Central Valley farms isn't the water that would be used for fighting fires outside of Redding.

Before arriving at the fires, the Aussies and Kiwis went through a brief training period at the NIFC headquarters in Boise, Bilbao said.

The president's comment comes after he said Sunday that too much water from the northern part of the state is being wasted by flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

Another major fire also burning in Northern California, the Ferguson Fire, extended into its third week. Here are the 10 largest fires in California history.

Hundreds of colleagues, family and friends attended a memorial service Saturday in Fresno for National Forest Service Capt. Brian Hughes.

The last time active-duty military personnel were mobilized was in September 2017, when 200 soldiers from JBLM were mobilized to help battle the North Umpqua Complex wildfires in OR for 30 days, NIFC said. Fueled by low humidity, triple-digit temperatures and winds blowing across wide swaths of tinder-dry vegetation, the conflagration has expanded to three counties, surrounded an entire river and parts of neighboring reservoirs, and destroyed and damaged almost 170 homes and other structures.

Officials said the River Fire, which is burning northeast of Ukiah, had limited movement overnight.

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