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California Wildfire Is Now Largest in the State's History

Illustration for article titled California Wildfire Is Now Largest in the States History
Image: AP

Northern California is in the midst of fighting approximately 17 large fires occurring simultaneously, and now, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, this includes the largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history. More than 14,000 firefighters have been deployed to combat the blazes that plague the state.

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The fire, known as the Mendocino Complex, had swelled to a span of 454 square miles by Tuesday morning, and The Guardian reports that only a third of it is contained. So far, the Mendocino Complex has burned 75 homes and forced thousands to evacuate. Now, fire officials who once planned to extinguish the fire by mid-August say they won’t be able to reach that deadline, and have pushed it to early September.

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Jonathan Cox, a battalion chief and spokesperson for Cal Fire told the Times, “It’s unprecedented to have so many sustained demands for so many resources over such a short amount of time.”

On Monday, Trump obviously chimed in by tweeting something dumb and irrelevant: “California wildfires are being magnified and made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” A Cal Fire spokesperson did not comment on the President’s tweet directly, but said his crews did not lack water.

According to CBS, Cal Fire says that the state’s firefighting costs have tripled since 2013, growing from $242 million to $773 million in the 2018 fiscal year that closed on June 30. California Governor Jerry Brown said last week of the fires, “We’re in uncharted territory. Since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse. That’s the way it is.”

contributing writer, nights

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DISCUSSION

It’s really important for people to understand where this fire is and the community it is impacting.
It is in Lake County: one of the poorest counties in all of California that neighbors some of the wealthiest counties.
Lake County has been hit with so many fires in the last three years that at this point there is little left that has not burned. My mom lives up there and the Valley Fire three years ago ran through my moms yard and missed her house by about 4-6 feet. I was there the day that fire came barreling down the mountain and it was absolutely terrifying. It was apocalyptic.
Most people impacted right now in the Ranch Fire/River Fire/Mendocino Complex are really poor. They do not have insurance or they are underinsured. There are few jobs there. Recovery is hard because they are still recovering from the fires last year and the year before.
It is a beautiful place with wonderful people and they need help, and they are the least likely to get it.
If you can donate and help this community please do. Or better yet, visit when the fires are over and shop and eat and spend money there. It’s a great community.