California is burning! How photographers are capturing the historic wildfires
As if 2020 wasn’t already apocalyptic enough, wildfires continue to burn California at historic rates.
Temperatures across the state reached record highs on Sunday soaring up to 120 degrees and intensified the destructive wildfires.
California’s state fire agency reported on Wednesday that more than 14,000 firefighters are battling 28 major fires across the state.
More than 2.5 million acres have already burned down, more than 3,700 structures have been destroyed and eight people have died. This year continues to set record numbers and not in a good way.
As California, Washington, and Oregon burn in flames, here are some of the photographers capturing this moment on history’s pages.
Josh is a freelance news and corporate photographer with more than 10 years of experience capturing wildfires. Like most photographers, he has his gear ready to go on moment’s notice.
Alongside the firefighters, Josh is always on the frontlines of the deadly blazes, capturing visually compelling stories.
A few burned out properties at #Creekfire yesterday morning, then extreme fire activity all night/this morn at the #Bearfire near #Oroville. Shot through the night. Extremely tired. It's still burning. Fire crews spread extremely thin.
— Josh Edelson (@JoshEdelson) September 9, 2020
His pictures have been featured in multiple magazines both nationally and internationally, including the New York Times and Times Magazine.
The destruction shown in his photos doesn’t just depict his adventurous spirit but also the commitment to his work.
A San Francisco-based, award-winning photographer has been covering editorial and corporate base assignments.
His pictures have been featured by the New York Times, Wall Street Magazine, Times Magazine, and other of the world’s largest newspapers and sites.
River Fire (Mendocino Complex) photos https://t.co/ohLwaY8P41
The River Fire tears through the Hendricks Rd. neighborhood in Lakeport, Calif. Pics Copyright Noah Berger / AP #RiverFire #MendocinoComplex #MendocinoComplexFire pic.twitter.com/FskEBQsM91
— Noah Berger (@noahberger3884) August 1, 2018
Berger’s photos are known for their subtle colors transmitting the intensity and destructiveness as well as the ongoing efforts of firefighters to stop the fires.
He revealed to The Wall Street Journal that he had been expecting such atrocities since May saying, “It’s coming; I felt a dry leaf crinkle under my foot this morning when walking the dog.”
Jessica is one of the many staff photojournalists from the San Francisco Chronicle who has captured the orange skies covering the lives of San Francisco’s citizens.
Her pictures have captured the attention of multiple public figures like California Governor Gavin Newsom, writer Tim O’Rourke, and former President Barack Obama.
The fires across the West Coast are just the latest examples of the very real ways our changing climate is changing our communities. Protecting our planet is on the ballot. Vote like your life depends on it—because it does. pic.twitter.com/gKGegXWxQu
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 10, 2020
Justin is a San Francisco-based photojournalist for Getty Images. He has been capturing California wildfires for 22 years now.
He tries to capture human or living elements rather than just the burning fire. Not only does this put things in perspective, but it also helps the viewer relate to the situation.
“It’s a constant effort of bringing all of those components together rather than just the pieces,” Sullivan told Time Magazine.
Firefighters battled the #LNULightningComplex fire from the air in Healdsburg, CA as worried residents watched the fire approaching. The complex of 5 fires has scorched 215,000 acres, killed four and remains at 0% containment. #wallbridgefire pic.twitter.com/O0z3zci6jr
— Justin Sullivan (@sullyfoto) August 21, 2020
An award-winning photographer that now works for the San Francisco Chronicle, Gabrielle’s photos also captured Obama’s attention.
Gaby’s experience working as a professional spotter in black and white labs allows her to capture some amazing contrasting pictures.
— gabrielle lurie (@gabriellelurie) September 9, 2020
Santiago an Emmy Award winner and filmmaker.
Unlike many of his colleagues, Santiago’s work for the San Francisco Chronicle takes more of a mundane approach.
Using lively colors, he depicts orange skies covering above being only another challenge to overcome for citizens and workers – but something they’re used to.
— Santiago Mejia (@SantiagoMejia) September 9, 2020
His photos serve as a foreshadowing of what is expected to come if humanity does not unite to work against climate change.
According to The New York Times, these wildfires have been more destructive than ever before because of people’s neglect of Global Warming. We can only hope that these blazes will be resolved soon and residents can have their lives back.