Northern California wildfire grows to become largest in state history

Mendocino fire racing at unprecedented speed into the record books

"We have plenty of water" for battling the massive blazes burning in hills north of San Francisco, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), described the wildfires as "extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely unsafe".

The Mendocino Complex Fire began a little more than a week ago with two neighboring fires burning through only 9,500 acres of land, then rapidly spreading - at one point, by almost 30,000 acres within hours.

Gleick continued: "California's forests are burning because of past severe drought and current extreme temperatures and weather, worsened by human-caused climate change, which you think, in your fantasy world, doesn't exist".

Elsewhere in California, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest's canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon, after a blaze broke out to quickly engulf 700 acres (283 hectares).

Through July 29, the agency said it responded to 3,770 fires across 292,455 acres.

Cal Fire online records show a growing number of wildfires in recent years.

The Mendocino is one of 17 major wildfires burning across California that prompted US President Donald Trump on Sunday to declare a "major disaster" in the state, ordering federal funding to be made available to help recovery efforts.

They have been dubbed the Mendocino Complex.

Crews battling the second-largest wildfire ever recorded in California fought on Monday to keep flames from descending a ridge into foothill communities, as reinforcements arrived from as far away as Alaska.

The Carr Fire, which incinerated 1,067 homes, started with sparks from the steel wheel of a towed-trailer's flat tire, Department of Agriculture and Fire Prevention officials said. Seven people were killed and more than a thousand homes were destroyed.

Trump, in a tweet on Sunday evening, blamed the intensifying fires on "bad environmental laws" that he said divert water resources into the Pacific Ocean.

It's unclear whether Trump's call for tree clearing "to stop fire from spreading" referred to creating fire lines by felling trees (a common and effective firefighting strategy) or to the mistaken notion that cutting down the nation's forests is a good way to restore them to a healthier, more fire-resistant condition.

For the latest updates about all California's wildfires, go to Cal Fire's "Incidents" page.

In December, Governor Jerry Brown said devastating wildfires fuelled by climate change had become "the new normal".

Experts say whichever approach Cal Fire takes, California firefighters are often more aggressive in trying to extinguish wildfires than those in other less-populated states.

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