Mendocino Wildfire Becomes California's Largest, and It's Still Growing

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More than 127 wildfires are burning across about 1.6 million acres in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and Alaska, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Hanna Kuyper of Redding, who lost her home in the fire. They haven't merged yet, but they are close enough to each other that officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are counting them as one huge wildfire.

It is the largest of eight major fires burning out of control across California, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a "major disaster" in the state.

Aerial view of Trabuco Canyon as a tanker aircraft dumps load onto Holy Fire, Near Santiago Peak, California, U.S., August 6, 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media.

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Sources: Satellite imagery from Copernicus (Sentinel-2), fire perimeters and largest wildfires data from CalFire, building footprint data from Microsoft.

Several areas impacted by the Mendocino Complex Fire are seeing evacuations being lifted.

The fire itself has burned through the southern portion of the Mendocino National Forest and continues to threaten surrounding towns.

The complex fire is comprised of the Ranch and River fires, both of which sparked July 27 near Clear Lake. 101 in Hopland; all areas north of Mendocino-Sonoma County Line; and all areas west of the Mendocino-Lake County Line. Burning through nearly 160,000 acres, it was 47% contained by late Monday.

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A number of complex fires fill the list of the top 20 largest wildfires in California history, including the 192,038-acre Klamath Theater Complex Fire near the OR state line in June 2008. The number of structures threatened by the fire has decreased, as well, from over 15,000 on Sunday to 9,300 Monday morning. At a time when fires are becoming increasingly expensive, and climate change is making the problem worse, wildfire science is needed more than ever. Seventy five residences have been destroyed. The Ranch Fire, which has burned over 225,000 acres, sit at only 21 percent contained.

The Mendocino Complex Fire grew under conditions ripe for an aggressive, fast-moving wildfire. And in the case of the most recent California fires-which have burned populated areas as well as forests-hot, dry, windy weather is playing a bigger role than vegetative fuel loading. "Now they're doing three to four huge fires in a week".

Deputy fire chief Mr Mclean dismissed Mr Trump's comments to USA media, saying firefighters had "plenty of water" to carry out their work.

Active-duty soldiers have for decades been tasked with helping civilian firefighting organizations battle wildfires, especially in the western United States.

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Experts say 2018 has the worst start to the fire season in 10 years - partly due to the 2012-2017 drought that killed off large amounts of vegetation.

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