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California’s Carr Fire Was Bad. The Mendocino Complex Fire Is Worse

Another major wildfire is tearing through California and it’s growing at a phenomenal pace. The Mendocino Complex Fire jumped creeks, firelines and roads this weekend, and is already the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history, as judged by acres burned.

As of Monday morning, the blaze has consumed 273,664 acres and destroyed 75 homes, as well as 68 other structures, according to Cal Fire, the California agency responsible for fire protection. It has not resulted in any fatalities to date.

It’s a virtual certainty the fire will become the state’s largest wildfire in history in the coming days, as last December’s Thomas fire, claimed 281,893 acres.

The Northern California fire is located near Clear Lake, just south of the Mendocino national forest. Officials say the flames threaten more than 9,000 structures. And parts of Colusa, Lake, and Mendocino counties have been evacuated. Cal Fire says the total blaze is currently 30% contained.

The fire comes as California firefighters continue to struggle to contain the deadly Carr Fire to the north of the Mendocino Fires. That fire, which is currently 43% contained, has destroyed more than 1,000 homes and burned over 160,000 acres. Seven people, including two firefighters, have died so far in relation to that fire.

The Mendocino Complex is technically two separate fires. (There were some erroneous reports they had merged Sunday, but Cal Fire says they remain separate.)

Ranch Fire

The Ranch Fire is the larger of the two fires, having consumed more than 225,000 acres so far. It’s just 21% contained and is growing fast, jumping at least four creeks, a major road and a fire line in a six-mile stretch this weekend.

“The Ranch Fire continues to grow in the north and south eastern directions, threatening communities in the fires path,” said Cal Fire. “The terrain on the Northern quarter of the Ranch Fire make it challenging to access the fire front directly.”

River Fire

This smaller blaze has consumed 48,663 acres and is considered to be 58% contained. That should allow Cal Fire to shift some resources from it to the Ranch fire soon.

Both fires began on July 27. Officials are investigating the cause of both.

Google is helping residents and others hoping to keep track of the fires in California. The company’s 2018 Statewide Fire Map for California lists all the active fires in the state to which Cal Fire is responding. The 2018 California fire map also lists updates on the various blazes, as well as a Google Crisis Map with information about air quality, evacuation orders, shelters, fire containment statistics, road closures, and more.