Wildfires are raging through California, destroying everything in their wake. As of Aug. 9, 2018, the Mendocino Complex Fire, which includes the River Fire and the Ranch Fire, is considered the state's largest wildfire on record, burning through 305,152 acres of land, with just 52 percent of it contained. The state seems to be hemorrhaging smoke and flames, with 15 active fires burning as of Aug. 9, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire). Here's a look at some of the dramatic scenes unfolding across the state.
Here, a firefighter walks through smoke during the Mendocino Complex Fire in Lakeport, California, on July 30, 2018. The blaze has taken the lives of fire personnel and civilians, devouring homes and forest habitat.
Firefighters monitor a controlled burn on State Highway 20 on July 31, 2018, in Upper Lake, California (part of the Mendocino Complex Fire). Controlled burning can help to contain even ongoing fires by getting rid of fuel (in this case the trees and other flammable forest growth).
A helicopter makes a water drop near the raging River Fire west of Lakeport, California, on July 31, 2018. As of Aug. 12, 2018, the River Fire had burned 48,920 acres and was 93 percent contained.
A deer runs from flames as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Road near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Aug. 4, 2018. As of Aug. 11, 2018, the Ranch Fire had burned 279,306 acres and was 58 percent contained.
On Aug. 2, 2018, as the Ranch Fire moved toward Upper Lake, California, firefighters started a controlled burn to defend houses there against the flames.
Fighting the flames
Another view of firefighters carrying out a controlled burn on Aug. 2, 2018. Thousands of firefighters have been working to put out the flames across the state.
A firefighter gathers water from a pool while battling the Ranch Fire near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Aug. 4, 2018.
The damage from the Ranch Fire is stark in Spring Valley, California, on Aug. 07, 2018. As of this date, the fires have taken the lives of 11 people and the state's largest fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire, has burned more than 290,000 acres (117,359 hectares), an area about the size of Los Angeles.
Carr Fire aftermath
A motorcycle sits next to a home that was destroyed by the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018, in Redding, California. A Redding firefighter and bulldozer operator were killed battling the fast-moving Carr Fire.
Smoke from the Carr Fire hangs over Whiskeytown Lake on July 27, 2018, in Whiskeytown, California. As of Aug. 12, 2018, the Carr Fire had burned 191,211 acres, destroying 1,077 residences, 22 commercial structures and 500 outbuildings, according to CalFire.
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Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.