11 Surreal Scenes Showing Fires Are Unleashing Hell on Earth in California

(ANTIMEDIA) — Wildfires in California are burning hundreds of thousands of acres as tens of thousands of firefighters, some who have traveled from as far as Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand work to contain the blazes. Even prisoners have been enlisted to fight the fires (at a rate of $1 per hour plus $2 per day).

Though much of the area currently burning is unpopulated, the fires have prompted thousands of evacuations across the state. In Riverside County, over 20,000 people have been evacuated amid the Holy Fire, which had burned nearly 10,000 acres and was only five percent contained as of Thursday morning.

The Mendocino Complex fire, a merging of the River Fire and Ranch Fire, has consumed over 300,000 acres and is currently just under halfway contained. Some residents have been allowed to return to their homes as the River Fire, located primarily in Hopland, CA, is 81 percent contained. However, it has burned a much smaller area than the Ranch fire, which is still only 46 percent contained. The Mendocino Complex fire, the largest in California history, has torched 470 square miles and destroyed 116 homes. As ABC News reported, officials said the fire has spread so rapidly due to a “perfect combination of weather, rugged topography and abundant brush and timber turned to tinder by years of drought.” Fire officials expect it to continue burning through the entire month of August.

Meanwhile, the Carr Fire, burning since July 23 in Shasta and Trinity Counties, has destroyed over 175,000 acres and is 48 percent contained.

Relatively smaller fires throughout the state are also continuing to pose challenges to firefighters. Across California, firefighters are attempting to put out 18 significant fires.

“For whatever reason, fires are burning much more intensely, much more quickly than they were before,” said Mark A. Hartwig, president of the California Fire Chiefs Association.

Here are 11 images and videos that capture the magnitude and intensity of the fires:

Mendocino Complex fire

The #CaliforniaFires were more of an incredible experience than just coverage. I sometimes keep notes for #AFP’s ‘behind the scenes’ blog which is dedicated to our personal recount of big events: I had never been in the middle of a burning neighborhood. Homes, mansions, white picket fences, barns, backyards, front porches, fancy cars… all devoured by flames within minutes. The hundreds of flashing red-blue lights of the firefighter trucks (called “engines”) blurred in the smoke, men in bright yellow suits rushing in all directions. Caos. My eyes are stinging, I can’t breathe, liquids are gushing out of my entire face. Quick put your mask and goggles on! Keep filming, but watch where you’re stepping. Make sure you don’t get trapped anywhere and always keep an eye on the men in yellow, those heroes, who will come pull you out in case you do. Horrifying beauty, a picturesque disaster – not only on a human level, but on an apocalyptic scale. The sky has turned all shades of brown and purple. It’s noon, but it looks like night is about to fall. Looking up you see helicopters dragging huge buckets of water and planes spraying red liquids (fire retardant) in every direction. The air traffic is heavy, as hell is being fought also from above. Driving through the various evacuated towns sends a chill through your spine. I have seen many ghost towns in my life. In the movies. This one was real. Everything was left as it was when the evacuation order arrived. Open homes, double parked cars. Lights on, animals roaming around. But no humans. Not a car in movement. Entire roads, avenues, empty. Life in its normality, abruptly interrupted. Some neighborhoods were just standing there empty, intact, hoping to survive. Others had become the scene of a post nuclear war. Everything flattened, charred smoking carcasses of unrecognizable stuff. The brick chimneys, those for some reason were the only things left standing, most of the time. Everything else had vanished. And what about the bears, the coyotes, the birds and the rest of #wildlife? #california #calfire #videojournalism #mendocino #carrfire

A post shared by Gianrigo Marletta (@gianrigo_vagabond) on

Carr fire

Holy fire

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