California wildfire becomes largest in state history

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By Tim Stelloh  with NBC News U.S. News
California wildfire becomes largest in state history
Alex Schenck carries a water bucket while fighting to save his home as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Road near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday.   -   Copyright  AFP - Getty Images

A wildfire burning through Northern California became the state's largest on record on Monday, scorching more than 283,000 acres, officials said.

The Mendocino Complex blaze — a conglomerate of two separate fires burning through rural Lake, Colusa and Mendocino counties — overtook last year's Thomas Fire, which scorched more than 1,000 buildings and killed two people across 440 square miles in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

The fire began on July 27 and was spurred on Monday by an ominous high-pressure system that brought hotter, drier and windier weather to the area, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

The fire has destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings, and more than 11,000 structures remained threatened, the department said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.