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California’s largest-ever fire grows to about 750,000 acres

The August Complex Fire, which on Thursday became the U.S. state of California’s largest ever, has merged with several other fires to cover 746,607 acres (about 3,021 sq km), up from 471,185 (about 1,907 sq km) a day earlier, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said on Friday.

The fire was 25 percent contained as of Friday morning, Cal Fire said.

According to Cal Fire, five of the 20 largest fires in modern state history are now burning across the state, according to Cal Fire. The SCU and LNU lightning complex fires, largely contained now in the San Francisco Bay Area, are No. 3 and No. 4.

Two other ongoing blazes in the top 20 are the North Complex in Plumas County, at No. 9, and the Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera counties, at No. 16.

Twenty-nine major wildfires were still burning across California on Friday morning, with approximately 14,000 firefighters battling them, Cal Fire reported.

The National Park Service announced the closure on Friday of Muir Woods, Alcatraz and Fort Point in San Francisco Bay Area due to unhealthy air quality throughout the region.

The executive director of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, Mary Ellen Carroll, advised residents Friday that with smoke making the air unhealthy to breathe, people should stay inside with doors and windows closed. “If you are able to stay home, we encourage you to stay home,” she was quoted as saying in a San Francisco Chronicle report. 

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