The Ranch Fire associated with the Mendocino Complex in Northern California continues to expand in size. Forming on July 27, the fire has grown to burn over 235-thousand acres, destroying 75 homes and 68 other structures while threatening an additional 11,300 buildings.
Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for some residents in Lake Mendocino and Colusa counties, displacing thousands. Numerous roads have also been closed, making travel difficult.
Nearly 4-thousand fire personnel are battling the Mendocino Complex, which consists of the Ranch and River fires. The River Fire, which formed closely nearby, is a smaller fire, consisting of about 50-thousand acres. The River Fire is far more contained, and firefighters have gained a better handle on the unpredictable flames.
On Saturday night, “crews had good success increasing containment on the River Fire and containment lines were holding well,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement. “The strategic plan and operations throughout the previous day held the fire to limited fire spread.”
The combination of these two wildfires makes the Mendocino Complex now the largest in California state history. It has burned about 283-thousand acres, compared to the record 281,893 acres from the Thomas Fire in December 2017. That fire destroyed over a thousand structures.
This fire is so large, you can even see it from space. Astronaut Alexander Gerst captured these dramatic images from this past weekend, looking down at all the smoke covering the West.
California burning. These fires are frightening to watch, even from space. Here’s a shout-out from space to all firefighters on this planet, my former colleagues. Stay safe my friends! pic.twitter.com/y7PNmR006b
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 3, 2018
Featured image credit: Kent Porter/Santa Rosa Press Democrat