In its 11th day, the Mendocino Complex is now the largest wildfire in Californias record books, the states Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says.
The two fires — named Ranch and River — started within an hour of each other on the afternoon of July 27; the cause is under investigation. They have burned 283,800 acres (443 square miles) in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties.
The agencys records, which go back to 1932, list these as the largest fires:
- Mendocino Complex, July 2018, Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties; 283,800 acres, 143 structures.
- Thomas, December 2017, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties; 281,893 acres (440 square miles), 1,063 structures, 1 death. Cause is under investigation. There were two ignition sites within half an hour of each other on the evening of Dec. 4. Residents of the neighborhood where the second fire erupted have sued Southern California Edison, claiming that a transformer explosion ignited it.
- Cedar, October 2003, San Diego County; 273,246 acres (427 square miles), 2,820 structures, 15 deaths. Started by a signal fire set by a lost hunter.
- Rush, August 2012, Lassen County; 271,911 acres in California (425 square miles), 43,666 acres in Nevada, 5 deaths. Cause: lightning.
- Rim, August 2013, Tuolumne County; 257,314 acres (402 square miles), 112 structures. Started by a campers fire.
- Zaca, July 2007, Santa Barbara County; 240,207 acres (375 square miles), 1 structure, 7 deaths. Started by sparks from a grinding machine being used for a pipe repair on private property.
- Matilija, September 1932, Ventura County; 220,000 acres (343 square miles), 8 deaths. Undetermined cause.
- Witch, October 2007, San Diego County; 197,990 acres (309 square miles), 1,650 structures, 2 deaths. Cause: power lines.
- Klamath Theater Complex, June 2008, Siskiyou County; 192,038 acres (300 square miles), 2 deaths. Cause: lightning.
- Marble Cone, July 1977, Monterey County; 177,866 acres (278 square miles). Cause: lightning.
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An earlier version of this story reported that the Mendocino Complex caused two deaths. No deaths have been reported in that fire.