Satellites miles above earth's surface and local residents on the ground are capturing California's recent wildfires from all angles.
Roughly 1,500 firefighters are working to contain a massive fire in Northern California which has already destroyed 17 structures and displaced 4,000 people, according to SF Gate. With only 35 percent of the fire contained, it's likely that many more houses in the area could be destroyed.
But that fire is only one of 14 currently raging across the state. One startling piece of footage from ABC News, which could be mistaken for a scene from an apocalyptic movie, shows a massive fire curling up both sides of a Santa Barbara highway.
The fires have been exacerbated by record-shattering temperatures, especially in downtown Los Angeles, where the temperature reached 98 degrees, breaking a 131-year record.
And there's no sign of the fires slowing down anytime soon, as Jim Harris, a national forest deputy fire chief noted to NBC News. After years of drought, California's dryer areas are now prime spots for blazes to begin and spread.
California’s fires were so massive that they could be seen from satellites and airplanes.
And although global climate change is often linked to an increase in severe hurricanes and rising sea levels, a growing body of research suggests that the rise in fires across the western United States can also be attributed to human-caused climate change.
The average number of large wildfires has risen from about 140 per year in the 1980's to roughly 250 per year in the 2000’s, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. And today, wildfire season lasts for over seven months compared to just five months in the early 1970’s. The Union says that this trajectory will almost certainly continue until the U.S. commits to lowering emissions.
With thousands of acres of land destroyed in just the past year, it's hard to imagine what it might take to convince some skeptics of the need for environmental reform.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters