MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - The largest wildfire in California exploded overnight by nearly 50,000 acres, making the charred area about 315 square miles, or six and a half times the size of San Francisco.
Concerns about forecasted winds of up to 35 miles per hour fanned worries in Lake and Mendocino Counties, where the Ranch and River fires, known together as the Mendocino Complex Fire, continue to burn. Between Friday night and Saturday morning, the two jumped to 201,471 acres burned and destroyed 14 more homes, bringing the total to 55, according to officials.
The Ranch Fire has charred 156,678 acres and is 27 percent contained and the River Fire has burned 44,793 acres and is 50 percent contained as of 7:00 a.m. Saturday.
Much of Northern California is under a Red Flag warning through Saturday night, including the burn areas of the Mendocino Complex Fires and the Carr Fire in Redding.
New mandatory evacuations were also announced Friday: the Potter Valley area in Mendocino, and in Lake County, the communities of Lucerne, Pepperwood Grove, Paradise Valley, Glenhaven and Clearlake Oaks. Track all evacuation orders for the Mendocino and Lake counties on the county sheriff's pages.
“The ranch fire is a big concern in that area with the winds we have,” Cal Fire spokesperson Amy Head said. “There is a possibility of the fire pushing back toward Clearlake so that's why those evacuation orders were given.”
Friday the Mendocino Complex Fires eclipsed the more destructive Carr Fire in Redding in size,.