Pictures and Videos Show California Burning As More Wildfires Break Out Across State

Dramatic pictures and videos have emerged as wildfires raged over large swathes of California and new blazes broke out.

Nearly 15,000 firefighters are battling more than 20 major blazes, according to the National Weather Service, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in five counties on Sunday.

On the same day, Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova told CNN that more than 2,094,955 acres have burned across California this year, breaking the record for land scorched, despite the fact it is only September.

On Sunday, the Bobcat Fire broke out near Cogswell Dam, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The blaze, which prompted the evacuation of hundreds of people, has now burned at least 1,800 acres in Los Angeles National Forest and is zero percent contained, ABC 7 reported.

One striking image captured by Twitter user Thalia Dockery on a Southwest Airlines flight over the state shows a vast "pyrocumulus" cloud generated by the Creek Fire in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

"This is not a nuclear blast. It is California on fire," MIT professor Vipin Narang wrote in a post showing the image on Twitter.

Pyrocumulus clouds form as a result of strong upward moving air currents produced by phenomena such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions, according to Steven Ackerman and Jonathan Martin with the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at The University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The Creek Fire that generated the cloud has burned more than 73,000 acres and remains zero percent contained as of Monday, according to Cal Fire. The blaze started on Friday, September 4 at around 7 p.m. local time in the Big Creek drainage between Shaver Lake, Big Creek and Huntington Lake.

The fast-moving fire has prompted several evacuations and state of emergency declarations in Fresno, Madera and Mariposa counties. Currently, the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined although an investigation is currently underway.

Another dramatic image captured from a flight above the state was posted by Oliver Darcy, a senior reporter at CNN. The photo shows a plane flying above thick plumes of smoke, lit up by an orange glow.

"Family member flying out of California this evening just sent along these photos from the flight. She said passengers could smell the smoke from the wildfires in the cabin," Darcy tweeted on Sunday.

Videos have also emerged of a "fire whirl"—also known as a "fire tornado" or "fire devil"—as firefighters battled the El Dorado blaze in San Bernardino County, where a state of emergency has also been declared. A fire whirl is a whirlwind induced by a fire that often consists of flame or ash.

The El Dorado Fire, which started on Saturday, has burned more than 7,000 acres and is 5 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. The department said the blaze was caused by "a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a baby's gender reveal party."

San Diego county is also under a state of emergency as a result of the Valley Fire, which broke out on Saturday and has burned more than 8,500 acres, with just one percent contained.

More than 800,000 acres have burned in the state this year as a result of a "lightning siege" that saw 11,000 lightning strikes hit northern California over the space of three days.

The fires raging across the state this weekend were also accompanied by extreme heat, with records tumbling in at least 10 locations, according to the National Weather Service (NWS.)

For example, Woodland Hills recorded a temperature of 121 degrees on Sunday—an all-time record-high temperature for the location. Meanwhile, the mercury reached 118 degrees at Van Nuys airport in the San Fernando Valley section of the City of Los Angeles.

The NWS said Sunday was one of the hottest days since weather records began across much of southwestern California.

Valley Fire
San Miguel County Firefighters battle a brush fire along Japatul Road during the Valley Fire in Jamul, California on September 6, 2020. SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images
Pictures and Videos Show California Burning As More Wildfires Break Out Across State | Tech & Science