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Ranch Fire Becomes Largest Single Fire in California History
The Ranch Fire, one of two blazes that made up the Mendocino Complex Fire, is now the largest single fire recorded in California history, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The Ranch Fire is 62 percent contained and covers 441 square miles, or 282,479 acres after growing about 6,000 acres, Cal Fire reports. The previous largest single fire was the Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres or 440 square miles in December 2017.
The Ranch Fire and the River Fire make up the Mendocino Complex Fire, which now covers about 518 square miles.
The so-called Holy Fire has spread over 35.5 square miles.
On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for areas impacted by the aggressive wildfire burning south of Los Angeles.
The emergency declaration was issued Thursday for Orange and Riverside counties. The inferno in the Cleveland National Forest has chased some 20,000 residents from their homes, and others were urged, though not required, to evacuate.
One home and 12 cabins have been destroyed and others remain threatened.
The owner of the home destroyed by the fire, Dan Pritchard, told KNBC-TV that he and his brother stayed until a wall of flames roared near, AP reports.
"I turned to him and said, 'Let's go,'" Pritchett said. "(There were) 100-foot flames right on the crest of the hill, right in front of me."
(Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register via AP)
The fire, which began on Monday, has grown to 33 square miles and is 29 percent contained as of Saturday, according to CalFire. Gusty winds and triple-digit heat have complicated the firefighting efforts.
"These conditions will increase the likelihood of extreme fire behavior as well," said the U.S. Forest Service.
On Wednesday, officials announced that Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, was arrested and accused of arson in connection with the fire.
In total, more than 1,000 square miles of land have been burned during the recent California wildfire siege, according to Cal Fire officials, and more than 30,000 firefighters are currently deployed to fight 20 active infernos in the state.
Eighth Death Confirmed in Carr Fire
Fire officials on Thursday confirmed another death in the so-called Carr Fire that destroyed more than 1,000 homes in just a few days' time.
Andrew Brake, 40, died in a single-car accident on his way to work on the fire as a heavy equipment mechanic. He was a six-year Cal Fire veteran.
He became the eighth person to be killed by the Carr Fire, which has burned for more than two weeks in and around Redding, California.
The Carr Fire is now the sixth most destructive wildfire in state history, according to Cal Fire records. It's also the 13th-deadliest and 10th-largest wildfire the Golden State has seen since records began.
The wildfire has destroyed nearly 1,600 structures, 1,077 of which are homes. More than 500 structures are still threatened by the blaze.
The inferno reportedly started when a tire blew on a tractor-trailer, which caused a spark as the rim of the tire struck the asphalt, CNN said.
The inferno was 55 percent contained as of Saturday, according to Cal Fire. It has burned at least 291 square miles of land, an area larger than the city of Chicago. More than 38,000 people were forced to evacuate because of the fire, the Associated Press reported.
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