California’s largest wildfire destroys dozens of residences

A hillside erupts in flames from the River Fire as firefighters look on in Lakeport, Calif., Tuesday. On Saturday, Governor Edmund Brown asked President Donald Trump for federal money to bolster the ongoing emergency response and help residents recover from 17 fires burning across the state. Photo by John Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

Aug. 12 (UPI) — The largest of several wildfires burning throughout the state of California destroyed nearly 30 homes over the weekend, fire officials said Sunday.

The Mendocino Complex Fire — made up of the Ranch and River fires — destroyed a total of 146 homes as of Sunday morning, up from 119 on Thursday, Cal Fire said.

Another 118 non-residential structures were destroyed by the blaze and 37 structures were damaged, including 13 residences.

Overall 1,025 structures remain threatened by the 331,399-acre wildfire, which became the largest in California’s history last week. Cal Fire said the blaze is 70 percent contained as of Sunday morning and is expected to be fully contained by Sept. 1.

“They’ve made really good progress on this thing and the threat is going lower and lower unless something drastically changes, which is not predicted,” Cal Fire spokesman Will Powers told The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

A total of 3,422 fire personnel have been assigned to combat the blaze and two firefighters have sustained injuries. There have been no reported civilian deaths or injuries related to the fire.

Mandatory evacuation orders remained in effect for Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties.

Several other wildfires also continued to burn thousands of acres throughout the state on Sunday.

Carr Fire

Cal Fire officials said the 191,211-acre Carr fire was 59 percent contained on Sunday morning.

A total of eight people have been killed in the blaze, including two firefighters. The fire has also destroyed 1,077 residences, 22 commercial structures and 500 outbuildings and damaged 191 residences, 26 commercial structures and 65 outbuildings.More than 4,600 firefighters have responded to the blaze, which began on July 23, as the result of a mechanical failure of a vehicle.

Holy Fire

The Holy Fire had burned 22,158 acres and was 36 percent contained as of Saturday, after authorities identified the suspect accused of starting the blaze.

Mike Milligan, Holy Jim volunteer fire department chief, suspect Forrest Gordon Clark sent a text that read, “This place is going to burn.”

The fire has led to the evacuation of 20,000 people and destroyed at least a dozen structures.

Clark, 51, was arrested and charged with with aggravated arson, arson of inhabited property, arson of forest, criminal threats, two counts of resisting and deterring an executive officer, and arson burning multiple structures. He is being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail.


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