Frantic homeowner fights to save his property by dousing flames with water as wildfires in northern California expand to two-thirds the size of LA

Sunday, August 5, 2018
By Paul Martin

River and Ranch fires have grown to cover about 299K acres north of San Francisco as of Saturday evening
Known collectively as the Mendocino Complex, the wildfire is now considered the 6th-largest in state history
More than 20,000 residents in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties have been ordered to evacuate

5 August 2018

A pair of fast-growing wildfires in northern California expanded to more than two-thirds the size of sprawling Los Angeles, becoming the sixth-largest blaze in state history.

Eerie photographs show an orange glow hovering over a relentless blaze in Clearlake Oaks, the latest town to fall victim to the Ranch fire.

Resident Alex Schenck was seen desperately dousing flames with buckets of water in his backyard in an effort to save his home.

While Schenck’s home was miraculously spared, many of his neighbors were not so lucky, although officials have yet to determine how many houses were destroyed.

The River and Ranch fires, known collectively as the Mendocino Complex, have taken over 299,000 acres north of San Francisco as of Saturday night. Fire officials have said it is considered 32 percent contained.

More than 20,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate their homes as the fire tears through communities in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties.

Through last week, California fires had torched about 290,000 acres (117,300 hectares), more than double the five-year average over that same period, according to Cal Fire.

The Mendocino Complex fires cover an area 71 percent of the size of Los Angeles. They have forced the evacuation of more than 20,000 residents and destroyed more than 100 structures.

More evacuations were ordered on Saturday afternoon, but no estimate of people involved was released.

This year, California wildfires have burned more land earlier in the ‘fire season’ than usual, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said during a news conference on Saturday.

‘Fire season is really just beginning. What seems like we should be in the peak of fire season, historically, is really now the kind of conditions we’re seeing really at the beginning,’ Pimlott said.

California Governor Jerry Brown, who visited some of the burned areas on Saturday, said: ‘This is part of a trend, the new normal, that we’ve got to deal with.’

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