Massive wildfire rages after becoming largest in California's history

PG&E employee dies after accident tied to the Carr fire company says

PG&E employee dies after accident tied to the Carr fire company says

In Northern California, the Mendocino Complex fire is now the fourth-largest fire in California history, with more than 266,000 acres burned.

Nine people have been killed so far, including four firefighters.

Ayeta is the seventh person to die in the destructive fire that has been burning for two weeks near Redding, where armies of firefighters and fleets of aircraft continue battling the huge blaze about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the OR state line.

As of Monday, the Mendocino Complex Fire shows little sign of slowing down. The Thomas Fire killed two people, burned 440 square miles, and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in Southern California before being fully contained January 12.

McLean said firefighters are using the direct approach to prevent the fires from reaching urban areas along Clear Lake while retreating in national forests "and letting the fire come to us".

"We have strong, erratic winds and what that's doing is blowing embers and it's spreading the fire", Capt. Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for a Southern California fire department who's acting as spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said Monday.

Firefighters from Australia and New Zealand are scheduled to arrive in Northern California today to help battle two huge blazes that were about half contained over the weekend.

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The Ferguson Fire, which has claimed the lives of two firefighters, has burned over 91,000 acres, while the Cranston Fire has burned over 13,000 acres.

A little further northwest, Blankenheim said the fire "did cross High Valley Road several places", but firefighters were able to build dozers lines and dropped "a lot of retardant on the mountain there and kept it from coming down into town".

Water, used in protecting homes and other structures and for dumping on flames from airplane tankers and helicopters, is critical but secondary to the larger manual efforts of clearing unburned vegetation to remove it as potential fuel around a fire's perimeter. On Monday he reminded people that the fires in the Western U.S. have been more intense due to an overabundance of dead timber that officials are not able to remove without facing lawsuits.

Together, the fires haves destroyed 75 homes and 68 other structures, while threatening more than 9,300 others.

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for parts of Colusa, Lake and Mendocino counties. The state's firefighting agency said it's had no complications accessing water, while fire experts said the state's hot, dry and windy conditions are to blame for the infernos, not any water policy.

Hundreds of colleagues, family and friends attended a memorial service Saturday in Fresno for National Forest Service Capt. Brian Hughes.

But that's "a totally separate issue" from fire management, said William Stewart, a forestry specialist at the University of California at Berkeley. It was almost halfway contained, Cal Fire said. "If we continue to increase greenhouse gases and if we continue to have warming, this is just a stepping stone", MacDonald says.

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