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Containment Of Massive Mendocino Fire Not Expected Until September

MENDOCINO COUNTY (CBS SF) – After becoming the largest wildfire in California history, containment of the massive Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California is not expected until September.

According to a statement from Cal Fire, full containment is expected on September 1st. Officials previously anticipated full containment of the wildfire burning in Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties on August 15th.

The fire, which consists of the Ranch and River fires, has burned 290,692 acres (454.2 square miles) as of Tuesday morning, with containment at 34 percent.

"It's really deep terrain in there, so we're not able to put ground personnel in some of those areas," Cal Fire spokesperson Will Powers said Tuesday.

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The amount of acreage burned is nearly 10 times the size of San Francisco (47 square miles) and almost the size of Los Angeles (469 square miles).

On Monday, the fire passed last year's Thomas Fire as the largest wildfire in California history. Fifteen of the 20 largest wildfires to burn in the state have taken place since 2000.

More than 11,000 structures are threatened. Officials said 75 homes and 68 other structures are destroyed, while another 12 homes and 14 other structures have been damaged.

Mendocino Complex Fire Map
Map of Mendocino Complex Fire as of August 7, 2018. (Cal Fire)

One firefighter has been injured. No injuries or deaths have been reported among civilians. Numerous evacuation orders and road closures remain in effect, and a full list can be found here (.pdf).

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"The Ranch Fire remained active overnight expanding further north and east, continuing to challenge fire crews due to limited access, heavy fuel loads, low fuel moisture, and high temperatures," Cal Fire said, adding that resources will continue to be deployed to all areas of the Ranch Fire perimeter.

"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.

Nearly 4,000 firefighting personnel have been assigned to the Mendocino Complex fire, one of 18 wildfires currently burning in the state as of Tuesday morning.

The cause of the fires, which were first reported on July 27th, is under investigation.

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