As of Friday, September 11, the largest wildfire recorded in California state history is burning in the Mendocino National Forest northwest of Sacramento. The August Complex Fire has burned nearly 2000 square kilometers (736 square miles), beating the record set by the Mendocino Complex Fire in the same area two years ago, and continues to burn largely uncontained. Meanwhile, the state's third and fourth-largest recorded fires are currently burning near San Jose and San Francisco respectively, although both are mostly contained. Authorities have reported that 29 major wildfires are ongoing throughout the state. At least 12 fatalities have been recorded statewide, with more than 4100 structures destroyed. Officials have warned that the most significant effect of the fires is the smog and pollution that they are causing in some of the US' most populous cities. Further details on the individual fires can be found on the Cal Fire website.
Weather conditions supporting extreme fires are expected to diminish over the coming days, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) withdrawing all elevated Fire Weather Outlooks. Hot and dry surface conditions are expected to linger, but winds are forecast to reduce significantly over the night of September 10 and 11.
Further spread of the fires is expected in the near term. An emergency response presence and localized transportation disruptions, namely road closures, should be anticipated in the affected areas.
The setting of a new record by the August Complex fire means that all five of California's largest wildfires have come in the last three years. This year has seen six of the state's 20 largest wildfires ever recorded. Over 12,546 square kilometers (4844 square miles) have been burned, the most in one year since records began in 1986. Recent high temperatures have fanned existing fires and sparked others across the state. Air quality in the region has been significantly reduced due to the fires.
Those in the vicinity of the fires are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the area, anticipate possible transport disruption due to firefighting operations and road closures, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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