As widespread wildfires continue to sweep across California, one brave soul decided to film his journey through the flames.
It's an image that brings to mind a "Hell on Earth," as many have accurately described it. Scorched wilderness. Downed telephone lines. Incinerated homes. Flames shooting upwards of forty feet in the air. And to top it all off, an ominous archway ripped straight from Polanski's The Ninth Gate.
This is no scene from a gothic work of fiction, unfortunately, but a very real picture of what many California communities are dealing with in the wake of devastating series of wildfires that have been tearing apart the Golden State in recent weeks.
Fueled by high winds, higher temperatures, and a record-breaking drought, two of the state's thirteen currently active fires alone have burned nearly 140,000 acres of land since Wednesday, claiming the life of at least one person and injuring nine over the weekend.
They are known as the Valley Fire and The Butte Fire. The first has grown to 61,000 acres and is 5 percent contained. The second has burned 71,000 acres and is 30 percent contained. And now, a Youtube user going by MulletFive has captured the harrowing footage of his close encounter with the former as he fled from his home in Anderson Springs around 7:30 p.m Saturday night.
The footage is shocking to say the least, and according to Daniel Swain, a climate earth system scientist at Stanford University, it is only a glimpse of the true horrors caused by these massive fires.
"It's a true firestorm - extremely fast moving, generating its own weather conditions, and burning literally everything in its path," said Swain.
"The Valley Fire is breaking all the rules in the midst of a fire season that had already rewritten the rulebook. What's going on in Lake County is a direct manifestation of California's record-breaking drought, and it's pretty sobering."
MulletFive claimed the fires reached his house quickly and without warning, and had to drive some nine miles before he was clear of the destruction.
"We got no phone call, there were no sirens, no ash falling, no smoke, no air support. As far as we knew the fire was still far away," he wrote.
"But it turns out it was very close to our home, there was simply not enough firefighters to tend to our area. The lesson: evacuate EARLY! It is hard to do when you live in a rural area and wildfires are just a part of life, you get used to seeing smoke way up in the sky occasionally. I don't think we will make this mistake again!" he said.
Unbelievable stuff, and a true reminder of nature's awe-inspiring power.
Source: USA Today