Fires

Mendocino Complex Fire approaches 300,000 acres as hot, dry winds continue

Animation shows how Mendocino Complex Fire became California’s biggest fire ever

The Ranch and River wildfires near Clear Lake in Mendocino and Lake counties started on July 27. At over 450,000 acres burned, they have become the largest wildfire in California history – the Mendocino Complex Fire.
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The Ranch and River wildfires near Clear Lake in Mendocino and Lake counties started on July 27. At over 450,000 acres burned, they have become the largest wildfire in California history – the Mendocino Complex Fire.

The Mendocino Complex Fire, which has been designated the largest recorded wildfire in California history, continued to spread overnight, growing to a total of 290,692 acres as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, according a Cal Fire incident update.

The complex fire is comprised of the Ranch and River fires, both of which sparked July 27 near Clear Lake. Total containment for the complex has improved slightly to 34 percent, Cal Fire said.

After a day of hot, dry winds fueled by a high-pressure system on Monday, progress was made on the smaller River Fire, as fire personnel reached 78 percent containment on the 48,920-acre blaze as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, a Cal Fire incident update said.

The larger Ranch Fire remained active overnight, expanding to 241,772 acres and continuing to hold at 20 percent containment, due in part to dry, heavy fuel, high temperatures and limited access to the area by firefighters.

Various parts of Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties remain under evacuation orders and advisories, and the region continues to see road closures, notably along Highways 20 and 29. Find up-to-date information on evacuations on the Cal Fire incident information page here.

Mendocino Complex

Red circles on this live-updating map are actively burning areas, as detected by satellite. Orange circles have burned in the past 12 to 24 hours, and yellow circles have burned within the past 48 hours. Yellow areas represent the fire perimeter.
Source: National Interagency Fire Center

Crews will continue to work on tying in remaining containment lines on the River Fire, Cal Fire reported.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which includes both the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service, defines a complex fire as “two or more individual incidents located in the same general area which are assigned to a single incident commander or unified command.”

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