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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 12:54 pm | Fog/Mist 55º


Northern California Wildfire Eclipses Thomas Fire as Largest in State History

The Mendocino Complex Fire currently burning in Northern California has roared through wild land with an intensity rivaling the massive Thomas Fire that devastated much of Ventura and Santa Barbara County in December.

Until Monday night, the Thomas Fire, at 281,893 acres blackened, was the largest wildfire in modern California history.

But that distinction was lost when officials reported that the Mendocino Complex Fire has burned 283,800 acres since it broke out July 27.

The Mendocino Complex is actually two separate but adjacent blazes — the Ranch Fire and the River Fire — burning in the Clear Lake area of Mendocino County and Lake County.

As of Monday night, the Ranch Fire had charred 235,000 acres and was 21-percent contained, while the River Fire had burned 48,800 acres and was 58-percent containment.

The overall containment figure for the Mendocino Complex stood at 30 percent.

While the giant blaze was consuming acreage with similar intensity to the Thomas Fire, the toll in terms of structures destroyed and damaged has been much less: 75 residences and 68 other buildings destroyed and 12 residence and 14 other buildings damaged.

In contrast, the Thomas Fire destroyed more than 1,000 structures and damaged nearly 300 others.

The Thomas Fire also set the stage for January’s devastating mud and debris flows in Montecito, which damaged or destroyed several hundred more homes, killed 23 people and injured more than 150 others.

The estimated date for full containment of the Mendocino Complex is Aug. 15.

Click here for updates on the Mendocino Complex Fire in Inciweb.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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