In a wildfire season that's already wreaking record levels of destruction, California is now facing 17 major fires, covering a combined 200,000 acres across the state.
The state has had this many incidents at once in previous years, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "But these are impacting communities—and they're large fires, not small," Jonathan Cox, battalion chief and information officer with Cal Fire, told the Los Angeles Times.
There have already been 3,700 fires in California this year, scorching nearly 300,000 acres—already topping the state's five-year average for the same time period. Here are the five largest fires to watch right now.
Ferguson Fire, Yosemite Valley
The Ferguson Fire, which forced the largest closure of Yosemite National Park in decades, has claimed the lives of two firefighters, reports say. Since July 13th, the blaze has burned across 56,659 acres and is currently only 30 percent contained. Smoke from the fire has choked the valley and created dangerous air-quality conditions, Yosemite officials told the Los Angeles Times.
Carr Fire, Shasta County
The Carr Fire has blazed through nearly 100,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley, leaving at least five people dead, including a 70-year-old great-grandmother and her two young great-grandchildren. A bulldozer operator also died while trying to contain the blaze, which has destroyed 723 homes near Redding, California, and damaged hundreds more. The fire began July 23rd after a mechanical car failure and is only 20 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
Ranch and River Fires, Mendocino County
Two fires known as the "Mendocino Complex" are burning 30 miles apart on the north coast. The Ranch Fire has consumed 35,000 acres and is only 5 percent contained. The 20,000-acre River Fire has destroyed six homes and is only 5 percent contained. Cal Fire officials said Monday that the fire behavior "remained extreme."
Cranston Fire, Riverside County
Now 57 percent contained, the Cranston Fire has scorched 13,139 acres in the San Jacinto Mountains since July 25th. Riverside County prosecutors charged a 32-year-old man Friday with starting this blaze, along with eight other fires.