It’s called the Mendocino Complex fire and on Monday it became the largest ever in the state of California burning more than 283,000 acres in 11 days. The long, hot summer continues to take a toll, especially on weary firefighters. From The Los Angeles Times:
- It’s day 11 for Omar Estorga on the front lines of California’s firestorm.
- Some nights, the captain and his crew have slept — sitting up — in the seats of their fire engine as the Carr fire raged. Other nights, they’ve stayed at the base camp in Shasta County. On their days off, they’ve snagged dorm rooms at Shasta College or, if they’re lucky, a hotel room when another fire crew has checked out.
- “We can’t give them a day we’re going to see them because we have no idea,” said Estorga, a captain with the Los Angeles County Fire Department who made the 10-plus hour drive to Redding on July 28. “We belong to state for 21 days … They could possibly call us to go to the Mendocino fire or any new fire that breaks out between us and home.”
The fires have been brought on by years of drought. The Mendocino fire is burning in heavy forest and few homes have been lost. That’s in contrast to earlier fires that have cost dozens of lives and destroyed thousands of homes all across the state.
The Mendocino Complex Fire, which is burning northwest of Sacramento, has become the largest in modern state history, California's fire agency said https://t.co/6sSecsxDdz
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 7, 2018
And despite Donald Trump’s contention that the fires were the result of poor environmental policies, state officials say it’s a lack of rainfall that’s the cause. From The New York Times:
“State officials and firefighting experts dismissed the president’s comments, which he posted on Twitter. “We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency.”