Mendocino Complex fires, biggest wildfire in California history, now 100 percent contained

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SACRAMENTO — The Mendocino Complex, a pair of wildfires that erupted in Lake County in late July and went on to become the largest recorded fire complex in California history, has been reported 100 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service said Wednesday.

The two fires burned a combined 459,123 acres, destroyed 280 structures including 157 residences, killed one firefighter and injured four others, the latest incident report says.

At 100 percent containment, there are still 22 miles of fire line to repair and some fire activity left to monitor. A news release by the Forest Service said the primary goal now is to “reduce erosion and other impacts from suppression activities.”

Some areas within Mendocino National Forest remain closed out of concern for public safety, as detailed in an order issued Sept. 2. The closures are in effect through Dec. 31.

A pair of wildland fires, both the 410,000-acre Ranch fire and the nearly 49,000-acre River fire ignited July 27. The cause of each is still under investigation, officials say.

Within days of sparking, the Mendocino Complex forced thousands of residents to evacuate. The fires burned through Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties for nearly two full months.

Smoke from the blazes carried into the Sacramento area, and led to unhealthy air quality throughout several Northern California counties.

The Ranch fire on its own is by far the largest recorded blaze in state history, soaring past the 281,893-acre Thomas fire that burned in Southern California from December through January.

The smaller River fire has been reported fully contained since Aug. 13.

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