The Mendocino Complex, as it has been called the fire that spans three counties, has consumed more than 290.000 acres of land, a surface a little smaller than the city of Los Angeles. For now, it has destroyed 75 residences and 68 other structures, but threatens to destroy another 11.300.
A forest fire that began July 27 in Mendocino County is already the largest in California's history after having razed more than 290.000 acres of land , practically the size of the city of Los Angeles. Since that day the flames have expanded by thousands of acres every day and even at night.
It is known as Fuego Mendocino Complex because it consists of two fires, Ranch and River , which have been contained by 20% and 78% respectively until Monday afternoon, according to the latest report from the Department of Forestry and Environmental Protection. California Fire (Cal Fire).
For now, it has destroyed 75 residences and 68 other structures, but threatens to destroy another 11.300.
Its destructive power now spans three counties: Lake, Colusa and Mendocino (where it began). The conditions of the climate and the terrain have made the work of the firemen difficult.
"We are at the mercy of the wind," Captain Thanh Nguyen, spokesman for Cal Fire in Lake County, told local media. "Tragically, this whole area is really dry and it is very difficult to extinguish the flames."
The size of this fire exceeds the Thomas fire that last year consumed 1.140.8 square kilometers (440.5 square miles or 281,893 acres) in the southern part of the state. In that fire two people died, including a fireman, and more than 1,000 buildings were destroyed, before being controlled in its entirety on January 12.
The dizzying increase in the size of the fire in recent days, which has continued to grow even at night, when the flames generally calm down, has surprised the firefighters themselves.
"We have broken a record, this is one of those records you would not want to see ," Cal Fire deputy director Scott McLean told the Los Angeles Times.
"It spreads extremely fast, is extremely aggressive and extremely dangerous" , said McLean.
This fire has caused numerous evacuations in the affected counties, but it has not destroyed as many houses as others that remain active in the state, because it has spread to remote areas.
A total of 432 trucks, 15 helicopters and about 4,000 firefighters fight the flames.
According to experts, years of drought have created the ideal conditions for large-scale forest fires to spread at a faster rate.
In fact, of the five largest forest fires in the history of the state, four have occurred since 2012.
The big 5
Mendocino Complex Fire: +290.000 acres, Mendocino.
Thomas Fire: 281,000 acres, December 2017, Ventura.
Cedar Fire: 273.246 acres, October 2003, San Diego.
Rush Fire: 271.911 acres, August 2012, Lassen.
Rim Fire: 257.314 acres, August 2013, Tuolumne.
There are currently 17 large fires in California, which, in total, have razed over 558.000 acres. The Carr fire, near the city of Redding, has claimed the lives of seven people and destroyed more than 1.000 homes.
Meteorologists have released emergency warnings this week for the high temperatures that will be experienced in Los Angeles County, where they will exceed 107 degrees Fahrenheit this week in areas such as Woodland Hills.
In late July, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Riverside and Shasta counties, as well as for Mariposa, due to fires in these areas.
Shortly after Trump signed the state of emergency for California, which assumes that the federal government provides additional assistance to combat the fires.
According to data from Cal Fire, the 2017 was one of the most devastating fire seasons for this state, with 46 dead and about 559.000 hectares consumed by some 9.000 forest fires that destroyed 10.800 structures.