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.
From Instagram: The Mendocino Complex Fire is now the largest wildfire ever in California. It would cover SF, Oakland, a large portion of the East Bay and the Peninsula. For story click link on profile. #wildfires #mendocinocomplexfire #riverfire #cafires https://t.co/sKWk0NfU3H pic.twitter.com/utbQE9G0f9— SFGate (@SFGate) August 7, 2018
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.
Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water — Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018
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.