The scope of California’s fires is unprecedented and has resulted in the closure of Yosemite National Park as firefighters battle 17 large fires, one of which is the largest fire in California’s history.
To help give perspective, we’ll cover both updates and maps of where the fires currently are and what actions the thousands of firefighters are taking to contain the fires. In total, over 14,000 firefighters are battling fires across the state, working to contain widespread fires as new ones appear almost daily. The National Guard sent in over 2,300 people to help contain the fight and international assistance from Australia and New Zealand are on hand to assist.
The Mendocino Complex Fire doubled in size in the past few days, making it the largest fire in California’s recorded history. The Mendocino Complex Fire is the result of both the Ranch and River Fires combining near Clear Lake to form the largest fire in history.
Above is an updated map of the current Mendocino Complex Fire size and location. As you can see in the update, the fire surrounds Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake wholly inside California.
The Mendocino Complex Fire is estimated to have burned 283,800 acres and has grown by 80 percent since Friday of last week and is only 30 percent contained. The acreage count puts this fire just above last year’s Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres, to put the Mendocino Complex Fire as the largest California fire in recorded history.
California Burning: From North To South
As noted in the map below, California is experiencing fires from the very northern tip of the state in Klamath National Forest to several fires surrounding the Los Angeles metro area.
As wildfires burn throughout the state, another notable fire is the Ferguson Fire which has prompted National Park Service to close large parts of Yosemite National Park.
The Ferguson Fire is on its third week, having killed two people and injured another 11. The National Park Service released a statement that in the past few days the fire has made roads inaccessible, downed trees, and made the larger Yosemite Valley too dangerous for tourists. The Ferguson Fire, at 94,992 acres and only 39 percent contained, grew by 8,000 acres on Sunday alone.
The National Park Service has announced the following areas closed within Yosemite National Park:
- Big Oak Flat Road
- Crane Flat Campground
- El Portal Road
- Glacier Point
- Tamarack Campground
- The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
- The Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias
- Wawona Campground
- Wawona Road
- Yosemite Valley
This is a major hit to one of the United States of America’s greatest national parks and the fifth most visited in 2017 at nearly 4.4 million tourists.
Just outside of Redding, California is another massive wildfire, the Carr Fire. To date, the Carr Fire is 173,522 acres and 47% contained and the 12th largest in California’s history. It has destroyed over 1,000 homes and killed 7 people as it burns next door to the 90,000 people city of Redding.
As wildfires continue to blaze in historic proportions across California, President Trump took to Twitter to blame California’s environmental laws for the extent of the wildfires.
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018
While it’s unclear what diversion President Trump is referring to, Michael Mohler, a spokesman for Cal Fire pointed to climate change as the only cause for the explosive, hot, and windy conditions that have fueled California’s worst year for wildfires in history.
More Info: www.forbes.com