Firefighters in Northern California were beginning to gain ground Tuesday against a record-breaking wildfire in Lake County, as firefighters across the state continued their battles with 18 blazes that have scorched nearly 600,000 acres.
The Mendocino Complex fire, which became the largest wildfire in California history on Monday night, had burned more than 290,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, officials said. The sprawling blaze, which is actually a combination of the Ranch and River fires in Lake County, has frustrated firefighters as it continues to leap natural and man-made barriers.
The Thomas fire, which scorched 281,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties last year, had been the largest wildfire in state history before Monday night — a dubious distinction it held for just eight months.
Prolonged drought and extreme heat have made California ripe for dangerous fire conditions in recent months and years. Of the five largest wildfires in state history, four have occurred since 2012.
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