Active-Duty Army Engineers Being Sent to Fight California Wildfires

Wednesday, 08 Aug, 2018

Collectively dubbed the Mendocino Complex, the wildfires have burned through 283,800 acres (114,850 hectares) - an area almost the size of the sprawling city of Los Angeles - and are just 30 percent contained, according to state fire authority CalFire.

The Mendocino Complex Fire, made up of two separate conflagrations that merged, has burned 283,800 acres (114,800 hectares) and was still growing, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The blaze was only 30% contained.

Is there one fire, or are there two?

The Mendocino Complex Fire has already engulfed 290,692 acres (117,639 hectares) - nearly the size of Los Angeles.

"It is extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely risky", McLean continued.

Various parts of Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties remain under evacuation orders and advisories, and the region continues to see road closures, notably along Highways 20 and 29.

Two helicopters began dumping water, and several engines raced from the next valley, where the fire had jumped the line.

Authorities have evacuated cabins in two communities in the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County because of a fast-moving wildfire. The Carr Fire has displaced more than 40,000 people, while the Mendocino Complex Fire has grown to the fifth-largest in state history. For example, the Mendocino Complex Fire is burning near the expansive Clear Lake. The Carr Fire is now the 12th largest fire recorded in the state.

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Exhausted firefighters across the state are trying to contain 16 major fires that are burning in hot, dry and windy conditions. Officials say the flames threaten more than 9,000 structures.

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. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.

"It's the embers, not the fire itself, that destroy most homes", said Steve Conboy, a construction expert whose company develops fire-resistant chemicals to apply to wood.

"Let's be clear: It's our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires", said Cal Fire spokesman Mike Mohler.

Firefighters battle to stop the spread of the massive fire in California.

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.

Trump issued an Emergency Declaration for the state on July 28, and Brown has now requested that the president declare a major disaster.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday toured Redding neighborhoods wiped out by flames and called on President Trump to help California fight and recover from the devastating wildfire season.