Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:25 a.m. Monday, Aug. 20.
As wildfires choke California, the Trump administration pledged last week to work more closely with state and local officials to prevent wildfires from ever starting. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Forest Service and other agencies will step up efforts to cut down small trees and underbrush and set controlled fires to remove trees that serve as fuel for catastrophic blazes, including a series of deadly fires that have spread through drought-parched forests and rural communities in California.
Here is the latest information on the fires burning across the Golden State. According to Cal Fire, over 13,800 firefighters are on the front lines of 12 large wildfires in the state. These fires have burned over 688,000 acres (1,075 square miles) and damaged or destroyed over 2,000 structures. Six firefighters have died this year fighting the blazes.
The Carr Fire in Shasta County has burned 229,651 acres and is 88 percent contained as of Monday morning, according to Cal Fire. The blaze began at about 1:15 p.m. on July 23. The wildfire has contributed to the deaths of eight people and has destroyed 1,604 structures and damaged 279 more.
The National Park Service said the fire was started by sparks from a flat tire in the Whiskeytown area.
Officials have lifted all mandatory evacuation orders for the deadly blaze, which is the eighth largest in state history and the fifth most destructive in the state record books. Cal Fire said Wednesday that people are now allowed back in the areas in and around the city of Redding that were impacted by the wildfire that has been burning for more than three weeks. Cal Fire says some public lands will remain closed until a review of potential hazards is finished.
The Mendocino Complex Fire, currently contained at 79 percent, consists of the Ranch and River fires in Mendocino County. The Ranch Fire is located about 8 miles northeast of Ukiah and the River Fire is 6 miles north of Hopland, according to Cal Fire. The Ranch Fire began about 12:03 p.m. July 27 and the River Fire began at 1:01 p.m. July 27, according to Cal Fire.
As of Monday morning, the Ranch Fire has burned 349,942 acres and is 74 percent contained. The River Fire has burned 48,926 acres and is fully contained. Together, the fires have burned 384,567 acres, are threatening 1,050 structures and have destroyed 157 residences and 120 other buildings.
The Ranch Fire is now the largest in California history, according to Cal Fire.
On Aug. 13, Cal Fire confirmed that a Utah firefighter was killed battling the blaze, marking the fire’s first fatality.
The Natchez Fire near the Oregon border has burned 20,275 acres and is 70 percent contained as of Monday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It was caused by lightning.
Crews are making progress on the Donnell Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest by lighting backfires and improving containment lines. In all, the fire has burned 31,743 acres and is 51 percent contained as of Monday morning. At least 53 cabins, as well as the historic Dardanelle Resort, have been destroyed, and evacuations remain in effect for Highway 108 from Eagle Meadow Road to Kennedy Meadows. Sonora Pass also remains closed. The fire began Aug. 2 near the Donnell Reservoir in Tuolumne County.
In northern Shasta County, above Shasta Lake, the Hirz Fire grew to 14,709 acres and remained at 11 percent contained on Monday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County burned 96,901 acres and reached 100 percent containment Sunday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire began at about 8:30 p.m. on July 13. Two firefighters were killed battling the blaze and nineteen more have been injured. The costs of fighting the fire are estimated at $116.9 million.
The wildfire forced the closure of Yosemite Valley from July 25 until Aug. 14.
The Lions Fire south of Yosemite has burned 11,254 acres and remained at 75 percent containment as of Monday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The fire started about noon on June 11 and was caused by lightning. It crossed onto the Inyo National Forest on June 22. Poor visibility in the area has prevented authorities from accurately mapping the fire, so acreage amounts are estimates.
The Holy Fire — named for Holy Jim Canyon where it began last Monday — had burned 22,887 acres by Monday morning, according to Cal Fire. Firefighters improved containment to 92 percent by Monday morning. It’s destroyed 18 structures around the Cleveland National Forest.