Fires

Mendocino Complex Fire roars past 300,000 acres, but containment grows

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 in Northern California reached 300,086 acres as of 7 a.m. Wednesday morning following a night of significant progress resulting in 47 percent containment — up from 34 percent, a Cal Fire incident update said.

Officials had reported they expected full containment by mid-August, but they have pushed that estimate back to Sept. 1. The complex fire, which started 13 days ago and consists of two blazes in mainly mountainous terrain near Clear Lake, has burned in three counties: Mendocino, Lake and Colusa.

The larger Ranch Fire burned actively, moving farther into Mendocino National Forest, where the type of fuel burning will transition into dense, mixed conifer. Crews focused on the southern and southeast edges of the fire overnight to try to protect surrounding communities that remain under threat, Cal Fire said.

The smaller River Fire, halted at 48,920 acres, had no overnight movement, Cal Fire said. Firefighters made progress on the area, achieving 81 percent containment as of 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Mendocino Complex Fire

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

The number of structures threatened fell to 10,300; however, the number of structures destroyed has grown to 221, including 116 residences, Cal Fire said.

Parts of Lake, Colusa and Mendocino counties have evacuation orders and warnings still in place, and new evacuations continued to be announced. Cal Fire announced it was safe for residents to repopulate some evacuated areas throughout the day Monday and Tuesday. The most up-to-date notices about evacuations and repopulation can be found at http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents.

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