August Complex fire in California becomes largest in state history
The August Complex fire, which has been raging in California for nearly a month, became the largest in the state’s recorded history on Thursday, the US Forest Service said.
The massive wildfire has consumed at least 471,000 acres — an area more than twice the size of New York City or encompassing nearly all of Rhode Island.
It was only 24 percent contained as of Thursday.
The August Complex began as a cluster of 37 different blazes when it was sparked by lightning on Aug. 17 in the Mendocino National Forest, in northwest California.
Since then, it has killed a firefighter and destroyed at least 26 structures, according to Cal Fire.
The updated size of the inferno puts it at the top of Cal Fire’s official list of the Golden State’s largest wildfires, which dates back to 1932.
The five largest have all occurred in the last three years.
The August Complex so far has burned 12,000 more acres than the 459,000 scorched in the Mendocino Complex wildfire in 2018.
More than 1,100 firefighters are battling the blaze. Statewide, there are over 14,000 firefighters working on 29 wildfires, officials said.
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