California Is Now Battling the Largest Wildfire in State History
The Mendocino Wildfire became the largest wildfire in California history Tuesday morning when two separate wildfires joined to cover an area of 443 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
The fire is barely one-third contained and Cal Fire predicts that the wildfire in Northern California will continue to burn through the beginning of September.
The Mendocino fire is about the size of the city of Los Angeles, although it is burning in mostly remote areas. It has already destroyed 75 homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of people. Almost 4,000 fire personnel are working to extinguish the flames.
“We broke the record,” Scott McLean a spokesperson for Cal Fire, told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s one of those records you don’t want to see.”
The fire has continued to grow over the past 11 days, even at night, when most fires die down. Dry vegetation, triple-digit temperatures, and fast winds have created perfect conditions for wildfire spread.
The Mendocino Wildfire is the largest of 18 wildfires currently alight in California, prompting a state of emergency.
The previous record for California’s largest wildfire was set in December 2017 when the Thomas Fire burned 440 square miles of land in Southern California. Of the five largest wildfires in California history, four have occurred since 2012. Cal Fire attributes the rapid increase in fires to years of drought across the state.