One of 2 large CA wildfires grows overnight


Firefighters fight to save a structure on New Long Valley Rd as the Ranch Fire burns near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018.

The Mendocino Complex fire has surpassed the size of the Thomas fire to become the largest fire in Californian history. They haven't merged yet, but they are close enough to each other that officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are counting them as one huge wildfire.

But fire crews made progress against the other blaze, which is now 78 percent contained. It killed two firefighters and four residents and displaced more than 38,000 people.

Frisco Fire Battalion Chief Shannon Brinton will be serving as the TIFMAS Northeast Branch coordinator for the deployment, which is expected to last 14 days.

A number of complex fires fill the list of the top 20 largest wildfires in California history, including the 192,038-acre Klamath Theater Complex Fire near the OR state line in June 2008.

The size of the fires surpasses a blaze last December in Southern California that burned 281,893 acres.It killed two people, including a firefighter, and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings before being fully contained on January 12.

More than 14,000 firefighters were battling the blazes across the state.

"On the River Fire we continued to increase containment and work towards tieing (sic) in the remaining containment lines to Scotts Valley Road", officials said. Despite decades of warnings about the dangers of building new homes in fire-prone areas, more than a third of the houses built in the United States since 2000 have been in these areas. Farther north, the Carr Fire is surrounded by multiple bodies of water from different directions: Shasta Lake to the east, Trinity Lake to the west and the Sacramento River snaking across the nearby city of Redding, to name a few. That wildfire about 225 miles (360 kilometers) north of San Francisco started more than two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire.

No homes are immediately threatened but officials warn that smoke could blanket neighborhoods and create unhealthy conditions.

Elsewhere in California, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest's canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon, after a blaze broke out to quickly engulf 700 acres (283 hectares).

As air quality continues to improve around most of the USA, wildfires are tainting the air across a large swathe of the West.

"It's unprecedented in these seven communities", Lake County Supervisors Chairman Jim Steele told KTVU, "having all of these shoreline communities evacuated, everyone is nervous about getting back in".

The resort owners said in a Facebook post that "at this point it has been confirmed that there is 'massive structural damage.' We are heartbroken and struggling with this news".