Massive wildfire rages after becoming largest in California's history

Massive wildfire rages after becoming largest in California's history

The Mendocino Complex Fire expanded almost 80 percent over the weekend and has now scorched more than 283,000 acres north of San Francisco, forcing more than 20,000 people to evacuate and destroying at least 75 homes so far. It's the largest of eight major wildfires burning out of control across California, and that have claimed the lives of 7 people.

As wildfires ravaged the Golden State, President Donald Trump weighed in, firing off tweets that seem to point fingers, not at the toll of climate change, but at California's environmental laws and use of water resources. With mandatory evacuations in place in parts of Mendocino and Lake Counties authorities warn that only 30 percent of the blaze has been contained so far.

Water, used in protecting homes and other structures and for dumping on flames from airplane tankers and helicopters, is critical but secondary to the larger manual efforts of clearing unburned vegetation to remove it as potential fuel around a fire's perimeter. The red shaded areas represent intense heat.

The wildfires are "extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely unsafe", said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fledgling wildland firefighters from JBLM will be organized into 10 teams of 20 soldiers each, Manning said, but they won't be sent to battle a blaze on their own.

Climate change, which is associated with an increase in extreme weather, is just one reason why wildfires are getting worse every year. But Nguyen said these have not happened in the affected areas.

Officials had set a target to extinguish the fire by mid-August, but they now say they will need until early September.

The Mendocino Complex consists of two neighboring Northern California blazes, the Ranch and River fires.

A brand new blaze called the Holy Fire was ignited on Monday in Orange County, quickly expanding to more than 1,200 acres.

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Firefighters are unlikely to see some respite.

"We're not going to put our servicemembers in harm's way if they are not prepared for it", Manning said. "Everything is still dry".

In this file photo taken on August 04, 2018 Resident Lane Lawder carries a water bucket while fighting to save his home from the Ranch Fire burning down New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California.

A wildfire burning through Northern California became the state's largest on record on Monday, scorching more than 283,000 acres, officials said. The fire was more than 40 percent contained Sunday.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked about Gleick's comments.

On Tuesday, administration officials declined to offer any clarity on Trump's series of tweets claiming environmental laws and water regulations in California are hampering the state's ability to fight the wildfires.

"It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean", the president tweeted Sunday.

Trump's tweet went on: "Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!"

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