283,000-Acre Mendocino Complex Fire Now Largest Wildfire In California History
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The raging Mendocino Complex wildfire that has scorched more than 283,000 acres is now the biggest blaze in modern California history.
"We broke the record," said Scott McLean, deputy chief with Cal Fire. "That's one of those records you don't want to see."
The blaze has officially surpassed the Thomas Fire of December 2017. That fire burned 281,000 acres.
The Mendocino Complex fire is actually two blazes: The River Fire and The Ranch Fire, and has stymied firefighters since it broke out July 27 with its unprecedented behavior.
Fire crews are still grappling with strong winds, high temperatures and a never-ending source of fuel resulting from drought conditions.
The fire has scorched more than 443 square miles -- nearly the size of Los Angeles.
As of Monday night, the River Fire has burned 48,800 acres, and is 58 percent contained.
The larger Ranch Fire continued to spread east-southeast. It has scorched some 235,000 acres and is only 21 percent contained.
Cal Fire said crews "will try to take advantage or lower [overnight] temperatures to increase suppression and hold current containment lines."
Both fires have destroyed more than 150 structures and threaten 11,300 more.
Meantime, evacuation orders remain in effect for residents in Lake County, Mendocino County and Colusa County.
Cal Fire says they are still targeting full containment by August 15.
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