The River and Ranch wildfires in Northern California, known as the Mendocino Complex Fire, continue to rage out of control, now having burned more than 283,000 acres. The two blazes that began burning through Northern California late last month have grown at breathtaking speed to form a massive inferno that has now set a new mark for destruction, reports the Washington Post.
The twin wildfires have together more than doubled in size in the past four days and burned an area almost the size of Los Angeles. By Monday night, the Mendocino Complex Fire had earned an infamous distinction, becoming the largest wildfire ever recorded in California, according to Cal Fire.
It has now surpassed the Thomas Fire that burned nearly 282,000 acres of land in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties late last year and the Cedar Fire that killed 15 people in San Diego County 15 years ago.
Fueled by low humidity, triple-digit temperatures and winds blowing across wide swaths of tinder-dry vegetation, the Mendocino Complex Fire showed little sign of slowing Tuesday, spreading to three counties, surrounded a river and parts of neighboring reservoirs, and destroyed and damaged nearly 170 homes and other structures.
Typically, temperatures dip and humidity rises overnight, giving firefighters a window to slow the fires’ progress. But this has not happened.