The Latest: Trump says he is monitoring California wildfires
LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
President Donald Trump says he’s monitoring the raging wildfires that continue to ravage California.
Trump is telling a group of business leaders attending a dinner at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort that he’s been in contact with local authorities. He is praising firefighters for their efforts combating what is now the largest fire in the state’s history.
Trump also says there are “things you can do to mitigate what’s happening.”
Trump has been claiming on Twitter that California’s water policy is shortchanging firefighters of water to battle the state’s raging wildfires. But wildfire and water experts say that’s not the case.
A Northern California school district is delaying the start of school because of smoke damage from a wildfire that is now the largest in state history.
The Lakeport Unified School District was scheduled to begin Wednesday but superintendent secretary Tami Carley said classrooms need to be cleared of smoke before students can return.
She said the school year for the Lake County district will be delayed at least two weeks.
The Mendocino Complex Fire is made up of twin fires being treated as one.
It has scorched 455 square miles (1,178 square kilometers) and is threatening thousands of homes in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties. It is burning about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of San Francisco.
The district has about 1,500 students in grades K-12.
A blaze burning for 26 days in and around Yosemite National Park is impacting three of the park’s entrances and officials say it is unclear when the park will reopen.
Kelly Martin, the park’s chief of fire and aviation, said Tuesday the blaze is very active on Yosemite’s north rim where it is being fueled by dry vegetation and dead trees.
The blaze has not reached the scenic Yosemite Valley but last week officials ordered the park’s closure after the air reached hazardous pollution levels. The closure also helped clear roads for the more than 2,000 firefighters battling the massive blaze.
Officials on Monday lifted several evacuation orders but said the communities of Foresta and Yosemite West are still being threatened.
The blaze that started on July 13 has killed two firefighters and injured another 12.
Crews are using aircraft to try to control a raging forest fire south of Los Angeles.
There is no containment Tuesday morning of the blaze churning through the Cleveland National Forest.
Aircraft are dropping retardant across ridgelines to keep fire from racing down hillsides toward residential communities.
Flames that erupted Monday have scorched more than 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) of dry brush and timber. Two rural canyons and some campgrounds have been evacuated.
No homes are immediately threatened but officials warn that smoke could blanket neighborhoods and create unhealthy conditions.
Firefighters are working in rugged terrain amid scorching temperatures that have prompted warnings about excessive heat and extreme fire danger for much of the region.
One of two wildfires burning miles apart in Northern California grew overnight, scorching dry vegetation in rugged terrain.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday the blaze burning in Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties has scorched 378 square miles (979 square kilometers). It’s only 20 percent contained.
But fire crews made progress against the other blaze, which is now 78 percent contained.
Late Monday, the wildfires known as the Mendocino Complex, became the state’s largest wildfire in history.
Officials say together the blazes about 100 miles (259 kilometers) north of San Francisco have charred 455 square miles (1,178 square kilometers).
That surpasses a wildfire last year in Southern California that burned 440 square miles (1,140 square kilometers).
Northern California is grappling with the largest wildfire in California history, breaking a record set only months earlier.
Experts say this may become the new normal as climate change coupled with the expansion of homes into undeveloped areas creates more intense and devastating blazes.
On Monday, twin fires north of San Francisco burning just miles apart became the largest collective wildfire in state history after destroying more than 443 square miles of forest and rural areas. That’s nearly the size of Los Angeles.
The so-called Mendocino Complex fire is only a couple of square miles larger than a deadly blaze last December but it’s still growing.
Officials say the twin fires threaten 11,300 buildings.
In all, more than 14,000 firefighters are battling major blazes throughout California.