18:41 GMT01 December 2020
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    A wildfire burning in Northern California has become the largest in the state’s recorded history, following the merger of two smaller fires Tuesday.

    When the Ranch wildfire and River wildfire, both in Mendocino County, grew to an area of 283,000 acres, they merged into one gigantic blaze, California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

    But how big is 283,000 acres? It can be hard to grasp the size, so networks have taken to geographic comparisons.

    ​To be clear, that's bigger than the nation's capital, Washington, DC. The fire would also swamp the sprawling city of Denver and most of its suburbs. It's nine times larger than San Francisco, twice the area of Chicago and just about the size of San Antonio, the San Francisco Gate noted August 7. That's also about one-third the area of the US state of Rhode Island.

    It's now even larger than the state's Thomas Fire that burned in late 2017, the flames of which consumed an area the size of New York City.

    ​High temperatures, winds and dry weather have quickly fanned the flames on the edge of Mendocino National Forest and are fueling a total of eight fires across the state, Raw Story noted Tuesday. US President Donald Trump has declared a "major disaster" in the state.

    However, that didn't stop Trump from trying to blame the disaster on "bad environmental laws" that ostensibly waste water that could be used to combat the blaze in a tweet on Sunday.

    A spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told Raw Story that their crews did not lack water for fighting the flames.

    ​The Mendocino Complex has burned 75 homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. It is being fought by more than 14,000 firefighters from 3,900 fire crews.

    ​The National Weather Service said temperatures in the area could reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit later this week, with dry and gusty conditions persisting — the exact things driving the growth of these fires.


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