World|life|August 7, 2018 / 11:27 AM
California wildfires are largest in state history

AKIPRESS.COM - Two fires in northern California have become the largest in the state's history, fire officials have said, Sky News reports.

The fires, known as the Mendocino Complex, are burning around 100 miles north of San Francisco.

They are a few miles apart but started within an hour of each other and are being treated as the same incident.

Since being ignited on 27 July they have devastated 283,800 acres (443.4 square miles).

Thousands of people have been forced to flee, at least 75 homes have been destroyed and 12 homes have been damaged.

Authorities say that the fires are only 30% contained and may not be fully under control for at least another week.

More than 11,000 structures are listed as being threatened by the Mendocino Complex fires, which have been mostly confined to remote areas.

Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, described the flames as "extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely dangerous".

He added: "Look how big [the fire] got, just in a matter of days.

"Look how fast this Mendocino Complex went up in ranking.

"That doesn't happen. That just doesn't happen."

More than 14,000 firefighters from a number of US states are fighting various blazes across the country's north west, almost 4,000 of them dedicated to the Mendocino Complex fires.

Their numbers were bolstered by the arrival of 140 colleagues from Australia and New Zealand on Sunday, 53 of whom will help fight the California fires, while the others head for Oregon.

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