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California’s largest wildfire in history rages

The Press Democrat via AP

The Ranch Fire spots out ahead of the main fire in Spring Valley, burning two homes during the battle to stop the spread of the massive fire in California’s Lake County on Monday.

Reuters LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — California’s biggest wildfire on record raged on Tuesday as hot and windy conditions challenged thousands of fire crews battling eight major blazes burning out of control across the state.

The Mendocino Complex grew to span 114,526 hectares on Monday when two wildfires merged at the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. It is the largest of eight major fires burning out of control across California, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” in the state.

The size of the fire has surpassed that of last year’s Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties when it destroyed more than 1,000 structures.

The Mendocino Complex has burnt 75 homes and forced thousands to be evacuated.

Temperatures could reach 43 C in Northern California over the next few days with gusty winds fanning the flames of the complex, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

The 3,900 crews battling the Mendocino Complex on Monday were focusing on keeping flames from breaking through fire lines on a ridge above the foothill communities of Nice, Lucerne, Glen Haven, and Clearlake Oaks, said Tricia Austin, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire.

Elsewhere in California, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon after a blaze broke out and quickly spread to span 283 hectares.

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