In all of 2019, California experienced 4,927 fires that resulted in the burning of around 118,000 acres of land. As of this week, CalFire has recorded 7,606 incidents and at least 2.3 million acres of the state have charred. And we’re only just now approaching what has historically been considered the peak of the annual “fire season” when dry, hot, windy conditions are at their worst.
While residents of California and other western states have become almost accustomed to catastrophic wildfires–particularly in recent years as the impacts of climate change have rapidly accelerated and exacerbated fire cycles–the current fires raging across the region have seemed to capture more national attention, in part due to the eerie, apocalyptic images of opaque smoke plumes and ominously glowing, bright orange mid-day skies.
Looking at these fire photos, many of them captured by amateur photographers using only phone cameras, many of them entirely unedited, offer a troubling glimpse at the symptom of a problem that has grown for decades–and, without dramatic policy change, will only continue to worsen.
San Gabriel Mountains
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