California's Mendocino Wildfire Is Now The 2nd-Largest In State History

Firefighter Scott Brown sprays water on a backfire while battling the Carr Fire in Redding Calif. on Saturday

The fire, which also includes the Ranch and River fires, was only 30 percent contained Monday evening.

The Mendocino Complex Fire has scorched a little more than 443 square miles, an area larger than the city of San Diego and nearly as large as Los Angeles, and it could still grow.

Gleick continued: "California's forests are burning because of past severe drought and current extreme temperatures and weather, worsened by human-caused climate change, which you think, in your fantasy world, doesn't exist".

It burned so furiously on July 26 that it created what is called a fire whirl.

Officials say a utility worker has been killed near a Northern California wildfire as crews continue to battle multiple blazes that have forced more evacuations.

The Mendocino Complex, which is comprised of two massive fires whose edges are as close as three miles apart, is not almost finished.

Before 2000, such monstrously large fires occurred far less frequently, according to state records. Another large fire that is still now uncontained, the Carr Fire, is climbing the list at number 12.

A helicopter makes a water drop on windswept flames from the River Fire as it again threatens the town of Lakeport on August 3, 2018.

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It's a virtual certainty the fire will become the state's largest wildfire in history in the coming days, as last December's Thomas fire, claimed 281,893 acres.

The Mendocino Complex Fire grew under conditions ripe for an aggressive, fast-moving wildfire.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, "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".

State authorities responded by saying California's water supply was not "diverted" anywhere. "Now they're doing three to four huge fires in a week". The fire surrounds Clear Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the state, a vital habitat for fish and other wildfire and a spot for water sports enthusiasts. Despite decades of warnings about the dangers of building new homes in fire-prone areas, more than a third of the houses built in the United States since 2000 have been in these areas.

On Sunday, 140 fire managers and specialists from Australia and New Zealand underwent special training and were outfitted with safety gear at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, before being deployed to battle fires in the Pacific Northwest and California.

The 14th Engineer Battalion soldiers were chosen for their engineering expertise and are likely to aid civilian firefighters in operations including digging trenches and building fire breaks, officials said.

In the meantime, Governor Jerry Brown and other state officials warned that the state is expected to endure record-breaking wildfires going forward.

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