MONDAY, AUG. 6: Over the weekend the Mendocino Complex Fire jumped creeks, firelines, and roads and is already the second-largest wildfire in California’s history by acres burned, reports Fortune.com. As of Monday morning, the blaze had consumed 273,664 acres and destroyed 75 homes, as well as 68 other structures, according to Cal Fire. It is remarkable that there have been no fatalities to date.
It’s a virtual certainty the fire will become the state’s largest wildfire in history in the coming days. Only last December’s Thomas fire, claiming 281,893 acres, was larger.
Officials say the flames, near Clear Lake just south of the Mendocino National Forest, 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 that is currently only 43% contained, has destroyed more than 1,000 homes, and burned more than 160,000 acres. Seven people, including two firefighters, have died so far from the Mendocino Complex fire, which is technically two fires – the Ranch and River fires.
The Ranch Fire, the larger of the two fires, has consumed more than 225,000 acres so far. It is just 21% contained and is growing fast, jumping at least four creeks, a major road, and a fireline in a six-mile stretch over the weekend.
The smaller River Fire has consumed 48,663 acres and is about 58% contained. That should allow Cal Fire to shift some resources from it to the Ranch fire.
Officials are investigating the cause of both fires that began on July 27th.