California’s Mendocino fire complex is now the largest in the state’s recorded history, fire officials said Tuesday morning. It’s just one of 17 currently blazing across the state that have left at least seven people dead.
The complex, which is made up of two fires that started burning on July 27, has consumed more than 290,692 acres of land — an area almost as large as the city of Los Angeles. Until now, the largest fire recorded had blazed through 282,000 acres last year.
According to a statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Mendocino fire was 34 percent contained, but officials expect it won’t be fully contained until September.
The fire's size even nabbed the attention of President Donald Trump who tweeted Monday that “bad environmental laws” were making the fires worse.
But experts and officials said the the scope of fires isn’t surprising, given the effects of climate change in recent years.
“It’s definitely on trend with what we’ve been seeing in previous years,” Heather Williams, an information officer for Cal Fire, told VICE News
Across the state, more than 14,000 fire fighters are on the front lines of the 16 other fires. Combined, the summer’s fires have burned more than 585,000 acres and caused 42,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.
And the fight is far from over.
Hot temperatures and high winds this week will only make containing the fires more difficult. And typically, the most damaging fires usually occur in September and October.
“It’s going to be ongoing,” Williams said. “We’re likely to continue to see fire activity increase as we continue into the fall.”