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Mendocino Complex Fire now largest in California history

Mendocino Complex Fire now largest in California history

California's battles over divvying up water in the arid state are unending, but a battle between firefighters and the Pacific Ocean hasn't been one of them, according to Jay Lund, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Davis, and a longtime analyst of the state's water wars.

Where are the fires burning?

The wildfires are "extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely unsafe", said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Across the state more than 14,000 firefighters are working to contain 16 major fires fueled by persistent hot, dry and windy conditions following years of severe drought. Forestry experts say thinning trees is a well-established practice that can reduce the severity of fires.

While no casualties have yet been reported, the fires which have been raging throughout Northern California since July 27, have already destroyed 75 residences and are now threatening another 11,300 structures.

A geophysicist and volcanologist, Gerst also worked as a volunteer firefighter while in school, according to his ESA biography.

Over the weekend the twin fires grew by almost 80 percent, taking over more than 283,000 acres north of San Francisco.

Those two fires grew to a combined 1148 square kilometres to become the state's largest wildfire. Officials have confirmed that six people, including two firefighters and a woman and her two great-grandchildren, have died. Find up-to-date information on evacuations on the Cal Fire incident information page here.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for evidence to support Trump's tweet. "California does NOT divert water to the ocean".

The water debate taps into a deep-seeded controversy in California: the balance between letting water flow through streams and redirecting it for agriculture and other uses.

The tweets baffled state officials, who quickly pointed out that water supplies are not the problem. "But it has nothing to do with water policy", Lund said.

Meanwhile US President Donald Trump has reiterated social media comments that the fires' spread is being "made so much worse" by California's environmental laws. The fire surrounds Clear Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the state, a vital habitat for fish and other wildfire and a spot for water sports enthusiasts.

Evan Westrup, Brown's press secretary, said Trump's tweeting "does not merit a response".

The Pentagon said yesterday it would send 200 soldiers to help firefighters to fight the fires.

Farmers in the south and central parts of the Golden State would prefer that more water go through aqueducts and other infrastructure to their lands.

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