This year's greatest fire in California is the Mosquito Fire, which has scorched over 63K acres.

This year's greatest fire in California is the Mosquito Fire, which has scorched over 63K acres.

The Mosquito Fire grew to more than 63,000 acres Wednesday night, becoming California's biggest wildfire this year, fuelled by parched vegetation in an area cooling after last week's record-breaking heat.

The massive fire has been raging for more than a week since it broke out on September 6. It has expanded to almost 14,000 acres since Tuesday. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the fire had burned over 63,000 acres in El Dorado and Placer counties as of Wednesday evening.

While the fire had cooled over the weekend, strong winds carried smoke aloft and gave fresh oxygen, prompting the fire to resurface Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire. The degree of containment declined from 25% on Tuesday to 20% on Wednesday.

The fire is predicted to expand to the east end of the region when winds force it into dry wood.

"We're preparing for an incredible eruption out here," Jonathan Pangburn, a Cal Fire fire behavior expert, said at a US Forest Service briefing on Wednesday. "It doesn't require much wind."

The Mosquito Fire has eclipsed the McKinney Fire as California's biggest wildfire this year. The McKinney Fire, which has burnt over 60,000 acres in Siskiyou County, is now 99% controlled.

This year's greatest fire in California is the Mosquito Fire, which has scorched over 63K acres.
While combating the Mosquito Fire in Placer County, California, fireman Christian Mendoza supervises a backfire, or flames created by firefighters to burn out vegetation. Credit : Noah Berger, AP images

Northern California and Nevada are experiencing hazardous weather conditions.

According to Cal Fire, the Mosquito Fire has forced the evacuation of almost 11,000 people from nearby California cities. Foresthill, Michigan Bluff, Georgetown, and Volcanoville remained under mandatory evacuation orders as of early Wednesday.

According to the most recent damage report from Cal Fire, the fire destroyed 64 structures and damaged ten in Placer and El Dorado counties. Over 9,000 structures were endangered.

The Mosquito Fire's smoke hovers over Northern California, producing poor air quality in the area and Nevada.

Most school facilities in Reno and Sparks, Nevada, were closed to students on Wednesday. Officials with the Washoe County School District noted the present dangerous air quality, National Weather Service projections, and the possible threats to vulnerable kids and those who walk or bike to school.

Face-to-face sessions at the College of Nevada, Reno, and Truckee Meadows Community College were also postponed on Wednesday, although online programs and vital services will continue.

Dry conditions for flames are exacerbated by historic drought and unprecedented heat waves.

A severe drought has ravaged most of the West, and recent heat waves have further scorched the region's flora. The exceptionally dry foliage is recognized to be a key dry fuel, and firefighters cautioned that the circumstances may easily spark a fire.

Pangburn remembered the King Fire in 2014, when firefighters were forced to use emergency shelters owing to the rapidly advancing flames.

"These were not wind-driven occurrences, but simply gasoline that was ready and eager to spread swiftly," Pangburn explained during a press conference on Wednesday.

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