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California Fire May Rage Until September, Officials Say

August 9, 2018 by  

Officials in California are warning that it may be September before they are able to contain the largest fire in the state’s history, which has already scorched an area the size of Los Angeles. The blaze, known as the Mendocino Complex Fire, is made up of two separate fires burning in the northern Mendocino and Lake counties that have merged and by Wednesday had collectively burned 1,217 square kilometers (470 square miles). The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) had expected that the blaze could be fully contained by August 15 but said Wednesday it would be September 1. Officials said 14,000 firefighters, including inmates and firefighters from overseas, have cut lines around half the fire to contain flames burning about 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of San Francisco.
 

Those lines have kept the southern edge of the fire from spreading into residential areas on the east side of Clear Lake. But CAL FIRE said the flames were out of control to the north, roaring into remote and unpopulated areas of thick forests as firefighters contended with record-setting temperatures.

The Mendocino Complex Fire was one of 18 burning throughout the state Wednesday.

In southern California, authorities arrested a 51-year-old man on suspicion of arson in connection with the blaze in the Cleveland National Forest south of Los Angeles.

That fire, which began Monday, has already burned 26 square kilometers (10 square miles). A dozen cabins have burned, and several rural canyons have been placed under mandatory evacuation orders. Officials didn’t immediately know how many people were affected.

The fire was only 5 percent contained as of Wednesday.

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