Climate Action

California’s latest wildfire is now ‘largest in state history’

California continues to battle a vast wildfire which by some accounts has become the largest in its history.

  • 07 August 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

California continues to battle a vast wildfire which by some accounts has become the largest in its history.

The Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California has nearly doubled in size over the weekend, according to CNN, having combined with a nearby county fire to burn through 283,800 acres.

This is greater than last year’s record of 281,000 acres around Santa Barbara, near Los Angeles.

The wildfires started on 23 July and a total of 17 major fires have been burning across the state, causing widespread damage. Two people have been killed and 11 injured, according to local reports. More than 14,000 firefighters have been working on the blaze, along with colleagues from 17 other US states.

President Donald Trump has now declared the incident a major disaster after a request from California’s Governor Jerry Brown. The announcement allows the state to access federal funding to provide housing assistance, food aid, medical services, and legal help, among others.

“This is part of a trend – a new normal – that we’ve got to deal with. We’re dealing with it humanly, financially and governmentally,” said Governor Brown during a recent media briefing. “These kinds of horrible situations bring people together, regardless of the lesser kind of ideologies and partisan considerations.”

Major wildfires have been reported around the world, from the Arctic Circle to Greece, in a summer of prolonged dry conditions and unusually high temperatures.

Farmers in Europe have also called for help to address drought conditions which have devastated crop yields.

Only last year, California battled multiple wildfires which killed two and caused $13 billion in damages, the highest ever amount. The 9,000 wildfires were part of a record year of extreme weather events in the US, including three Hurricanes (Irma, Harvey, and Maria), which resulted in over $300 billion of damage.