CLEARLAKE OAKS - Two fires mercilessly roaring through northern California have grown so rapidly that they are now the largest ever to ravage the state, authorities said.

Collectively dubbed the Mendocino Complex, the wildfires have burned through 283,800 acres (114,850 hectares) - an area nearly the size of the sprawling city of Los Angeles - and are just 30 percent contained, according to state fire authority CalFire. Two people have died in the inferno, taking to 11 the number of people killed by major fires that broke out last month and are still ongoing.

“Today a higher pressure system brought warmer weather, drying, and strong winds to the region,” CalFire said in an update.

“Tonight fire crews will try to ... increase suppression and hold current containment lines.”

It was the second fire to break records in the fire-prone, most populous US state in as many years, following the Thomas Fire in December 2017, which destroyed 281,893 acres.

Further north in the state, the deadly Carr Fire has burned through more than 164,400 acres since July 23, and killed another seven people along the way. Its intensity was so great at one point, that it generated a tornado-like fire storm - as well as its own weather system.

Authorities say it was triggered by the “mechanical failure of a vehicle” that caused sparks to fly in tinderbox-dry conditions.

The fire has razed more than 1,600 buildings, including some 1,000 homes, state officials say.

Several thousand people have been evacuated, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes.

The wildfires are “extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely dangerous,” said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“Look how big it got, just in a matter of days... Look how fast this Mendocino Complex went up in ranking. That doesn’t happen. That just doesn’t happen.”

Firefighters were battling the Mendocino Complex blaze supported by helicopters and airplanes - including two gigantic DC-10s and a 747 jumbo jet - that doused the flames with water.

The objective of the firefighters is to protect surrounding communities, which have been evacuated. Some 9,300 structures are threatened by fire, while 75 homes have already been destroyed.

“Evacuations are going to continue until is safe” Sheriff Brian Martin said Sunday, without specifying the number of people who had left their homes. The weather forecast for the week ahead is not encouraging: very hot and very dry, the perfect conditions for the fires to expand.

Size of LA

The raging Mendocino Complex fire comprised of twin blazes in the western state’s north ravaged more than 290,000 acres (117,359 hectares) - approximately the size of sprawling Los Angeles - in less than two weeks, becoming California’s largest wildfire ever recorded since bookkeeping began a century ago. Some 14,000 firefighers including reinforcements from as far as Australia and New Zealand have arrived to combat the firestorm devouring broad swaths of the state.

The River Fire of the Mendocino Complex is 78 percent contained, having burned 48,920 acres - but its partner blaze the Ranch Fire has grown to 241,772 acres and is just 20 percent contained.

Limited access, heavy fuel loads, low fuel and high temperatures were all impeding firefighters’ efforts to rein in the conflagration, the state’s CalFire authority said.

Helicopters and airplanes, including two massive DC-10s and a 747 jumbo jet, were supporting firefighters by dousing the flames with water.

Two people have died in the inferno, taking to 11 the number of people killed by major fires that are becoming something of a constant in the fire-prone state.

The Carr Fire to the north has meanwhile engulfed 167,113 acres since igniting July 23 and killing seven people thus far.

Firefighters have managed to get it 47 percent contained, challenged by varying wind patterns and rough terrain that includes steep drainages.

Another major fire, Ferguson, has left two dead and forced the closure of part of the Yosemite national park, and is currently only 38 percent contained.

Several thousand people have been evacuated, although some have been given permission in recent days to return to their homes.

The Mendocino Complex is the second fire to break records in California in as many years, following the Thomas Fire in December 2017 that destroyed 281,893 acres.

“This is part of a trend - a new normal - that we got to deal with,” the state’s governor Jerry Brown told journalists of the “horrific” wildfires.

Climate change effects

In the state’s south near San Diego hundreds of personnel were deploying to tackle the fast-moving Holy Fire in the Cleveland National Forest.

After igniting in a relatively small area on Monday afternoon it mushroomed to 4,000 acres and was not contained at all as of Tuesday morning, according to the US Forest Service.

Two other national forests in the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura were on high alert because of searing temperatures, strong winds and parched vegetation.

“If fire ignition occurs, conditions are favorable for very rapid fire spread,” the National Weather Service warned in a statement, saying “extreme fire behavior” could “threaten life and property.”

On Monday the Pentagon said it would send 200 soliders to assist firefighters in fending off the flames, many of which have encroached on federal lands. In a series of eyebrow-raising tweets President Donald Trump meanwhile suggested environmental laws - rather than climate change - was to blame for the spike in wildfires devastating parts of the west.

“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized,” he said Monday. “It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!”

The Republican president infuriated much of the international community last year when he withdrew from the Paris climate change pact, intended to combat global warming by reducing emissions.

His missive drew exasperated sighs from many including authorities at CalFire: “We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires,” Daniel Berlant, the agency’s assistant deputy director, told The New York Times.

“Let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires.”