Massive wildfire rages after becoming largest in California's history

LOS ANGELES, Aug 7 (Reuters) - California's biggest wildfire on record raged on Tuesday as hot and windy conditions challenged thousands of fire crews battling eight major blazes burning out of control across the state.

The Mendocino Complex grew to span 283,000 acres (114,526 hectares) on Monday when two wildfires merged at the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. It is the largest of eight major fires burning out of control across California, prompting U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a "major disaster" in the state.

The size of the fire has surpassed that of last year's Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties when it destroyed more than 1,000 structures.

The Mendocino Complex has burnt 75 homes and forced thousands to be evacuated.

Temperatures could reach 110 degrees (43 Celsius) in Northern California over the next few days with gusty winds fanning the flames of the complex, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.

The 3,900 crews battling the Mendocino Complex on Monday were focusing on keeping flames from breaking through fire lines on a ridge above the foothill communities of Nice, Lucerne, Glen Haven, and Clearlake Oaks, said Tricia Austin, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire.

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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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Elsewhere in California, evacuations were ordered for cabins in Cleveland National Forest canyons in Orange County on Monday afternoon after a blaze broke out and quickly spread to span 700 acres (283 hectares).

The Carr Fire - which has torched 164,413 acres in the scenic Shasta-Trinity region north of Sacramento since breaking out on July 23 - was 47 percent contained.

The Carr Fire has been blamed for seven deaths, including a 21-year-old Pacific Gas and Electric Company lineman Jay Ayeta, whom the company said on Sunday was killed in a vehicle crash as he worked with crews in dangerous terrain.

"California wildfires are being magnified and 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.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman declined to comment on Trump's tweet but said crews did not lack water to fight the flames.

Environmental activists and some politicians say the intensity of the state's wildfire season could be linked in part to climate change. (Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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