The Mendocino Complex burning in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties about 90 miles north of San Francisco had grown to cover a total of 229,000 acres (92,600 hectares) by late Saturday, and were considered 32 percent contained, reported Reuters on Sunday morning. California fires have now torched about 290,000 acres, more than double the five-year average over that same period, according to Cal Fire.
The Mendocino Complex fires cover more than two-thirds the size of Los Angeles, forcing the evacuation of more than 20,000 residents and destroying more than 100 structures.
Firefighters had managed to contain 41 percent of the Carr blaze by Saturday evening, and authorities were allowing some evacuees to return.
Both areas remained under a “red flag warning” issued by the National Weather Service for strong winds, low relative humidity and temperatures topping 90 degrees, all conditions that can drive the growth of wildfires.
So far this year, U.S. fires have burned 5 million acres, much more than the 10-year average, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Three men were given citations on Saturday for refusing to leave an area where firefighters wanted a tanker plane to make an air drop, causing the plane to be diverted, according to a post on the Lake County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page. The men were watering their marijuana plants, police said.