California wildfires set records; residents and roads still threatened

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 8/7/2018

Several wildfires are still threatening residents and infrastructure in California, including the Mendocino Complex Fire, which is the largest fire in state history. The Carr Fire, the sixth most destructive fire in state history, continues to spread.

As of Tuesday morning, Aug. 7, the Mendocino Complex Fire located northeast of Ukiah has burned more than 290,000 acres and is only at 30 percent containment. The wildfire is already 10,000 acres larger than the Thomas Fire from this past December, which was the largest fire in California history. The Mendocino Complex Fire is approximately 42 percent larger than all of New York City and about 30,000 acres away from being the size of Los Angeles.

Two fires make up the complex, the Ranch Fire near state Route 20 at mile marker 39 and the River Fire at Old River Road, approximately 6 miles north of Hopland. Although the Ranch Fire is at 20 percent containment and the River Fire at 78 percent, the Mendocino Complex Fire as a whole is at 34 percent containment and is expected to be fully contained by Sept. 1.

Fortunately, the Mendocino Complex Fire is away from densely populated areas, having destroyed only 75 residences and 68 other structures. However, more than 11,000 structures remain threatened. No deaths have been reported.

Several road closures are in place at state Route 20, mostly in Lake County, with a few in Colusa County and Mendocino County. More specifically, Route 20 is closed both ways state Route 29 to Route 53.

The Carr Fire near Redding off of Highway 299 has reached more than 167,000 acres as of Tuesday morning. Currently, the fire is at 47 percent containment. Officials do not have an expected date for full containment.

Despite being significantly smaller than the Mendocino Complex Fire, the Carr Fire’s proximity to populated areas has caused more damage. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, with another 1,800 structures remaining under threat. Seven people have been killed, including two firefighters.

Several road closures remain intact, including Highway 299 both ways from just outside Redding on the east to about four miles east of state Route 3 on the west.

Weather forecasts for affected areas are not looking favorable for containment efforts. Temperatures in Redding for the week range from 100 degrees to 105 degrees with no chance of precipitation. Cal Fire reports weather conditions will continue to challenge firefighters as hot, dry and windy conditions persist in areas affected by the Mendocino Complex Fire.

Smoke from the Mendocino Complex on Highway 20 on July 31. (Photo courtesy Mendocino County Sheriff's Department)





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