Authorities say twin blazes rapidly spreading in Northern California have become the state’s largest wildfire in history.
The fires burning a few miles apart and known as the Mendocino Complex ignited July 27 and encompass an area the size of Los Angeles. It’s the second straight year that California has recorded the state’s largest wildfire.
Officials said Monday that the flames about 100 miles (259 kilometers) north of San Francisco grew to 283,800 acres (443.4 square miles or 1,148.4 square kilometers).
That surpasses a wildfire last year in Southern California that burned 281,893 acres (440.5 square miles or 1,140.8 kilometers). That one killed two people and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings.
The new fire has burned 75 homes. It is mostly burning in remote areas but has forced thousands of people to evacuate.
The Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California is now the largest in state history, scorching 283,800 acres, Cal Fire reported Monday.
The 11-day-old blaze in mainly mountainous terrain near Clear Lake topped the Thomas Fire, which was the state’s largest for about eight months after burning through 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in December 2017 and January 2018.
Firefighters, though, increasingly have been encircling the Mendocino Complex Fire in recent days, and are now estimating they will have it fully contained in little more than one week. The fire has burned in three counties: Mendocino, Lake and Colusa.
After mass evacuations in the Clear Lake area last week, officials let more residents return to their homes on Sunday and Monday, and eased warning notices Monday at noon for residents in several areas as well.