Mosquito fire surpasses 63,000 acres to become largest blaze in California this year
By KAITLYN FERRAND.
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California’s Mosquito Fire destroyed an estimated 63,000 acres by early morning on Friday, July 22. The blaze’s size was nearly three times as large as the previous largest in the state’s history, and as of 5 p.m., it had destroyed more than 1,000 buildings—including more than 200 homes and a dozen businesses—along with an estimated 10,000 acres of live oaks and other dryland vegetation.
The National Weather Service said the blaze, still only about 20 percent contained, could grow to as much as 200,000 acres by late Sunday.
On Thursday, July 21, two helicopters and two planes were dispatched to assist the fire department in the battle—the biggest firefighting effort in California history, and one that is likely to extend well into late August or September.
The fire was initially reported as a “wild burn” by Cal Fire on Saturday, July 23. But firefighters soon found that it contained substantial fuel—even though it began as a tiny brush fire the previous day.
Citing “an unusual number of reported hot spots” in the fire behavior, Cal Fire spokesman Dan McDonough told reporters, “We weren’t expecting to come up here on such a wild burn.”
Cal Fire spokesman McDonough said he was also surprised the brush fire began as a “hot spot,” given the unusually dry conditions.
“I would have been surprised if it was anything, frankly, else,” McDonough told reporters. “But it actually was. So we’ll see how that plays out.�