Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

California Wildfire Becomes Second Largest In State History

A firefighting helicopter drops water onto a hot spot at the River Fire near Lakeport California North California wildfires expand to more than two-thirds the size of LA
Lisa Bryan | 07 August, 2018, 11:38

The Mendocino Complex fire is burning close to the shoreline of Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake entirely within the state of California. The entire so-called Mendocino Complex Fire is now one of the largest on record in the state, officials said.

Fire officials expect it to take another nine days to fully contain the so-called Mendocino Complex Fire, which had scorched 273,664 acres (110,748 hectares) by Monday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, an area almost the size of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times explained that the likeliest explanation for Trump's tweet is that he's confused about stories from Central Valley farmers about irrigation.

"The idea that there isn't enough water is the craziest thing in the world", says Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland.

Woodward said the crew will be traveling to Northern California sometime this week.

More than 14,000 personnel from California and elsewhere in the country are fighting wildfires across the state. "What seems like we should be in the peak of fire season, historically, is really now the kind of conditions we're seeing really at the beginning", said Pimlott. But the heat forced many crews to drop back to safety zones in July and helplessly watch fires continue to rapidly expand. It's unclear if this is directly connected to the fire, but PG&E has been doing work to rebuild and restring power lines in the areas where the fire hit, so it's entirely possible that a line may have been de-energized as part of this continuing work.

Trump, in a tweet on Sunday evening, blamed the intensifying fires on "bad environmental laws" that he said divert water resources into the Pacific Ocean. The fire is entering its third week, with 163,000 acres burned and more than 1,000 homes lost.


Elsewhere in California, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon after a blaze broke out and quickly spread to span 700 acres (283 hectares). In response to the devastating wildfires in Shasta County, Tri Counties Bank has created a verified GoFundMe campaign to help those impacted by the fires.

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized", Trump wrote on Twitter. The River and Ranch fires had grown to cover about 82,675 hectares by Saturday night, and were considered 32 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

The dry, hot weather that climate change brings adds to the dried tinder and risk. The Thomas Fire scorched a much more densely populated area, burning through 1,063 structures and damaging 280 more.

The wildfire started two weeks ago by sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire. By nightfall, the fire had burned 4,000 acres (6 square miles or 16 square kilometers) of chaparral-covered hillsides and destroyed one building. These backfires give off large plumes of smoke, and their flames have been visible from Ukiah, but it should be remembered that they are a firefighting measure, and though they may appear threatening from the Ukiah Valley, they instead represent progress in containing the fire, and ensuring that it does not actually threaten the valley.

At 273,664 acres burned, the Mendocino Complex Fire now sits at number two of California's largest wildfires.

Another blaze that ignited last week in the Sierra Nevada has damaged a historic Northern California resort in the Stanislaus National Forest.

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