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Mendocino Fire is California’s largest wildfire ever

New Zealand firefighters have flown in to help battle blaze

A fire vehicle is parked ahead of an advancing wildfire in Lakeport, California, near the Mendocino National Forest.
Photo by AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The Mendocino Complex Fire burned more than 290,600 acres (nearly 454 miles) as of Tuesday morning. It is the largest wildfire in the recorded history of California, beating out the Carr Fire still raging in Shasta, which is now the sixth most destructive fire in state history.

The North Bay fire has destroyed 75 residences and damaged 12 residences so far. It’s containment is at 34 percent as of Tuesday morning, according to CalFire. Approximately 13,000 residents are under evacuation orders, while over 11,000 structures remain under threat.

Both the Ranch Fire in Ukiah and the River Fire near Hopland, which sparked July 27, make up the massive inferno.

“To help put the size in perspective,” reports San Francisco Chronicle, “the fierce blaze has scorched an area nine times larger than San Francisco, two times bigger than Chicago, and just about the size of San Antonio, the second-largest city in Texas.”

It’s important to remember that, while this remains the largest fire in state’s recorded history, it hasn’t been as destructive as previous wildfires. The comparatively smaller Sonoma and Napa fires of 2017 killed more than 40 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.


Nearly 14,000 firefighters, many of them from out of state, are battling the front lines of the 17 wildfires across California. In addition to nationwide crews helping tame the blazes, a group of 41 firefighters arrived Tuesday at the Mendocino Complex Fire after a 13.5 hour flight from New Zealand.

According to the New York Times, “[o]f the top 20 largest wildfires in California, about half have come in the last decade.”

CalFire’s map details the many California wildfires now in progress: