California wildfire becomes second largest in state history

Aug 6 (Reuters) - A sprawling blaze in Northern California grew on Monday into the second-largest wildfire ever recorded in the state, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency, highlighting the ferociousness of this year's fire season.

Fire officials expect it to take another nine days to fully contain the so-called Mendocino Complex Fire, which had scorched 273,664 acres by Monday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, an area nearly the size of Los Angeles.

"Unfortunately, they're not going to get a break anytime soon," Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center, said in an interview on Monday. "It's pretty doggone hot and dry, and it's going to stay that way."

38 PHOTOS
Mendocino Complex Fire in California
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Mendocino Complex Fire in California
UPPER LAKE, CA - JULY 31: Firefighters monitor a controlled burn on State Highway 20 on July 31, 2018 in Upper Lake, California. (Photo by Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A deer runs from flames as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018. - The Ranch Fire is part of the Mendocino Complex, which is made up of two blazes, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
LAKEPORT, CA - JULY 31: A resident pushes personal belonging in a wheelbarrow as she evacuates ahead of the River Fire on July 31, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed seven homes and stands at only eight percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Alex Schenck carries a water bucket while fighting to save his home as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018. - The Ranch Fire is part of the Mendocino Complex, which is made up of two blazes, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant along the crest of a hill to protect the two bulldozers below that were cutting fire lines at the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) near Lakeport, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Flames lick behind a Buddha lawn statue as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018. - The Ranch Fire is part of the Mendocino Complex, which is made up of two blazes, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters watch as an air tanker drops fire retardant to protect homes along the crest of a hill at the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) near Lakeport, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
A structure burns out of control in the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) in Lakeport, California, U.S. July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Wind-driven flames roll over a hill towards homes during the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) near Lakeport, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LAKEPORT, CA - JULY 31: A West Covina firefighter looks on while a horse barn burns as the River Fire moves through the area on July 31, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed 7 homes and stands at 8 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A firefighting helicopter drops water onto a hot spot at the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) near Lakeport, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
TOPSHOT - A firefighter douses flames while battling the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018. - The Ranch Fire is part of the Mendocino Complex, which is made up of two blazes, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters take advantage of a shady spot to rest along a covered downtown sidewalk during their off time from fighting the Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) in Upper Lake, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Firefighters ride in the back of a pickup truck while battling the Ranch Fire on New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018. - The Ranch Fire is part of the Mendocino Complex, which is made up of two blazes, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters pull a hose from a brush rig to assist in knocking down hotspots on the Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) north of Upper Lake, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Battalion Chief Matt Sully directs operations on the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burning on High Valley Rd. near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
A firefighter hits a burning log with an axe, causing a puff of flame, while knocking down hotspots on the Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) north of Upper Lake, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Firefighters watch a back burn during the Mendocino Complex fire in Upper Lake, California on July 31, 2018. - The Mendocino Complex -- made up of two fires -- has burned more than 24,000 acres in total since July 27. Thousands of firefighters in California made some progress against several large-scale blazes that have turned close to 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares) into an ashen wasteland, destroyed expensive homes, and killed eight fire personnel and civilians in the most populous US state. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LAKEPORT, CA - JULY 31: Chickens stand near a burning home as the River Fire moves through the area on July 31, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed seven homes and stands at only eight percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(L-R) Firefighters Ryan Bridges and Brian Lucero rest along a covered downtown sidewalk during their off time from fighting the Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) in Upper Lake, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
LAKEPORT, CA - AUGUST 01: A firefighting aircraft drops fire retardant ahead of the River Fire as it burns through a canyon on August 1, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed 7 homes and stands at 38 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A structure burns out of control in the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) in Lakeport, California, U.S. July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
A firefighter turns his back to the flames while battling the Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) north of Upper Lake, California, U.S., August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
Firefighters knock down hotspots to slow the spread of the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) in Lakeport, California, U.S. July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
A firefighter monitors backfires used to slow the spread of the the Ranch Fire (Mendocino Complex) north of Upper Lake, California, U.S. August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
The Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, crests a ridge as Battalion Chief Matt Sully directs firefighting operations on High Valley Rd. near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames leap above High Valley Rd as the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burns near Clearlake Oaks, California, on August 5, 2018. - Several thousand people have been evacuated as various fires swept across the state, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighter Joe Smith retrieves supplies while battling the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burning along High Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on August 5, 2018. - Several thousand people have been evacuated as various fires swept across the state, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
An air tanker drops retardant on the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burning along High Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on August 5, 2018. - Several thousand people have been evacuated as various fires swept across the state, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Alex Schenck moves flaming pallets while fighting to save his home as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Rd near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday, August 4, 2018. - The Ranch Fire is part of the Mendocino Complex, which is made up of two blazes, the River Fire and the Ranch Fire. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
LAKEPORT, CA - AUGUST 01: Inmate firefighters look on as a firefighting aircraft prepares to drop fire retardant ahead of the River Fire as it burns through a canyon on August 1, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed 7 homes and stands at 38 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Flames leap above a vehicle on High Valley Rd as the Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire, burns near Clearlake Oaks, California, on August 5, 2018. - Several thousand people have been evacuated as various fires swept across the state, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes. (Photo by NOAH BERGER / AFP) (Photo credit should read NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
A firefighter walks through smoke as flames approach a home during the Mendocino Complex fire in Lakeport, California on July 30, 2018. - The Mendocino Complex -- made up of two fires -- has burned more than 24,000 acres in total since July 27. Thousands of firefighters in California made some progress against several large-scale blazes that have turned close to 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares) into an ashen wasteland, destroyed expensive homes, and killed eight fire personnel and civilians in the most populous US state. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A firefighter watches as a building burns during the Mendocino Complex fire in Lakeport, California, on July 30, 2018. - The Mendocino Complex -- made up of two fires -- has burned more than 24,000 acres in total since July 27. Thousands of firefighters in California made some progress against several large-scale blazes that have turned close to 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares) into an ashen wasteland, destroyed expensive homes, and killed eight fire personnel and civilians in the most populous US state. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A helicopter drops water while helping to fight the Mendocino Complex fire in Lakeport, California, on July 30, 2018. - The Mendocino Complex -- made up of two fires -- has burned more than 24,000 acres in total since July 27. Thousands of firefighters in California made some progress against several large-scale blazes that have turned close to 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares) into an ashen wasteland, destroyed expensive homes, and killed eight fire personnel and civilians in the most populous US state. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LAKEPORT, CA - JULY 31: A firefighter lights a back fire ahead of the River Fire on July 31, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed seven homes and stands at only eight percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LAKEPORT, CA - JULY 31: Smoke from the River Fire fills the sky as it burns through a canyon on July 31, 2018 in Lakeport, California. The River Fire has burned over 27,000 acres, destroyed seven homes and stands at only eight percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A firefighter knocks down hotspots to slow the spread of the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) in Lakeport, California, U.S. July 31, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
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Some areas in Central and Northern California could see temperatures reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) and winds of 15 miles (24 km) per hour, with higher gusts that could fan the flames and spread embers, he said. Environmentalists and some politicians say the uptick in the intensity of the state's wildfire season may be linked in part to climate change.

The Mendocino Complex Fire has destroyed 75 homes and forced thousands to flee.

Still only 30 percent contained, it is one of 17 major wildfires burning across California that prompted Trump to declare a "major disaster" in the state on Sunday, ordering federal funding to be made available to help recovery efforts.

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Another fire, the nearly two-week-old Carr Fire, claimed another life on Saturday, a 21-year-old apprentice lineman, Jay Ayeta, officials with PG&E Corp said on Sunday.

Ayeta died when his vehicle crashed as he worked with crews in dangerous terrain in Shasta County.

He was the seventh person to die in that blaze, which has scorched more than 160,000 acres (64,750 hectares) in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region north of Sacramento, including two young children and their great-grandmother whose home was overrun by flames, and two firefighters. The Carr Fire is now the 12th largest fire recorded in the state.

Firefighters had managed to contain 45 percent of the Carr blaze by Monday morning, and authorities were letting some evacuees return.

25 PHOTOS
Devastating images from California's Carr fire
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Devastating images from California's Carr fire
Hills are bare after being burned in the Carr Fire near Igo, California, U.S. July 29, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong
Smoke from the Carr Fire shrouds the Clear Creek Bridge near Igo, California, U.S. July 29, 2018. REUTERS/Bob Strong TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
REDDING, CA - JULY 30: Forest burns in the Carr Fire on July 30, 2018 west of Redding, California. Six people have died in the massive fire, which has burned over 100,000 acres and forced thousands to evacuate since it began on July 23. (Photo by Terray Sylvester/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Firefighter Shawn Lee (R) from the Lake Forest unit and his colleagues try to contain flames from the Carr fire as it spreads towards the town of Douglas City near Redding, California on July 30, 2018. - Thousands of firefighters in California made some progress against several large-scale blazes that have turned close to 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares) into an ashen wasteland, destroyed expensive homes, and killed eight fire personnel and civilians in the most populous US state. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Crews from CalFire and the Whitewood Volunteer Fire Department battle a flare-up near Buckhorn, Calif., on Highway 299 during the Carr fire in Shasta-Trinity counties on Monday, July 30, 2018. (Paul Kitagaki Jr./Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images)
Fire fighter Wyatt Belden from Gold Ridge Fire Protection in Sonoma County, monitors a fire burning off Keck Road, just west of Lakeport, Calif., on Monday, July 30, 2018. (Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images)
A house burns during the Mendocino Complex fire near Finley, California on July 30, 2018. - Thousands of firefighters in California made some progress against several large-scale blazes that have turned close to 200,000 acres into an ashen wasteland, destroyed expensive homes, and killed eight fire personnel and civilians in the most populous US state. The worst blaze, northern California's Carr Fire, has killed six people since Thursday, including a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren aged four and five. They perished when flames swallowed their home in Redding. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 28: A home continues to burn after the Carr Fire moved through the area on July 28, 2018 in Redding, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 80,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. The fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 28: A deer stands on a road covered with fire retardant as the Carr Fire burns in the area on July 28, 2018 near Redding, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 80,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. The fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Trees burst into flame during the Carr fire near Whiskeytown, California on July 27, 2018. Two firefighters have died and more than 100 homes have burned as wind-whipped flames tore through the region. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Burned down vehicles sit at a property under a deep orange sky during the Carr fire near Redding, California on July 27, 2018. - Two firefighters have died and more than 100 homes have burned as wind-whipped flames tore through the region. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 27: A motorcycle sits next to a home that was destroyed by the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018 in Redding, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 44,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is 3 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WHISKEYTOWN, CA - JULY 27: Smoke from the Carr Fire hangs over Whiskeytown Lake on July 27, 2018 in Whiskeytown, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 44,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is 3 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 27: A view of cars that were destroyed by the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018 in Redding, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 44,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is 3 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An inmate firefighter pauses during a firing operation as the Carr fire continues to burn in Redding, California on July 27, 2018. - One person has died and at least two others have been injured as wind-whipped flames tore through the region. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 27: A home burns along Sunflower Road during the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018 in Redding, California. A firefighter was killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire which has burned over 28,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is reportedly only 6 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 27: A home burns along Sunflower Road during the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018 in Redding, California. A firefighter was killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire which has burned over 28,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is reportedly only 6 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
REDDING, CA - JULY 27: A home burns along Sunflower Road during the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018 in Redding, California. A firefighter was killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire which has burned over 28,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is reportedly only 6 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A charred neighborhood destroyed by the Carr Fire is seen west of Redding, California, U.S. July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves
REDDING, CALIF. -- SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2018: A home is destroyed by wildfire in Redding, Calif., on July 28, 2018. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SHASTA, CALIF. -- SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2018: Dead fish lay in a pond water wildfire swept through and destroyed homes in Shasta, Calif., on July 28, 2018. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WHISKEYTOWN, CALIF. -- SATURDAY, JULY 28, 2018: Wildfire destroyed and sunk boats docked at the marina in Whiskeytown, Calif., on July 28, 2018. (Photo by Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WHISKEYTOWN, CA - JULY 28: A Cal Fire truck drives along highway 299 as the Carr Fire burns in the hills on July 28, 2018 neat Whiskeytown, California. A Redding firefighter and a bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 80,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. The fire is 5 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A destroyed car is seen among the ruins of a burned neighborhood after the Carr fire passed through the area of Lake Keswick Estates near Redding, California on July 28, 2018. - The US federal government approved aid Saturday for California as thousands of firefighters battled to contain a series of deadly raging wildfires that have killed six people and destroyed hundreds of buildings. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WHISKEYTOWN, CA - JULY 27: Smoke rises from the Carr Fire as it burns along highway 299 on July 27, 2018 near Whiskeytown, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast moving Carr Fire that has burned over 44,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes. The fire is 3 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by Rich McKay and Dan Whitcomb; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by William Maclean and Jonathan Oatis)

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