Hell on Earth

A drive through California’s Valley Fire looks like a scene from a horror movie.

September 14, 2015

Northern California is burning. Firefighting crews are battling about a dozen wildfires, and the worst among them, the Valley Fire, has overtaken around 61,000 acres since Saturday. It’s currently only 5 percent contained. The fast-moving blaze has killed at least one person, destroyed more than 400 homes, and, with up to 9,000 more houses in its potential path, many more Californians could soon be fleeing to safety. Hopefully, they’ll find it faster than this driver from Anderson Springs did over the weekend.

While his filming is shaky, you can understand why: Youtube user mulletFive was escaping as flames rose high on both sides of the road, and sparks and smoke crept ahead of his line of sight. The footage looks more like a terrifying apocalyptic movie or video game than a drive through scenic NoCal.

Despite this budget-busting and record-breaking wildfire season, we still have a long way to go before it’s over. According to the U.S. Forest Service, each fire season since 1970 has increased by an average of 78 days. Warming temperatures are leading to drier conditions that load up the land with tinder, resulting in risky situations for firefighters, homeowners, and this video’s reluctant stuntman.  

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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