A fast-moving wildfire in near Yosemite National Park in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains has engulfed nearly 19,000 acres. It was sparked July 22, and in just three days, it charred more than 18,000 acres.
Cal Fire officials warned that the unpredictable behavior of the blaze is “really unprecedented.” With temperatures in the area hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the flames fed on extremely dry vegetation, a result of climate change bringing frequent droughts and rising heat levels to the state over the last 20 years.
As of July 27, the fire has burned dozens of homes, threatened some 1,400 structures and required evacuation orders for more than 6,000 people.
Firefighters saw some success Monday as aircraft dumped 300,000 liters of water on the flames. The roughly 2,500 firefighting personnel on the job had contained nearly one-third of the fire by the next morning. As they got a handle on the emergency, smoke from the blaze spread over more than 200 miles, clouding the skies above Yosemite, as well as parts of Nevada and Northern California.
Below are a selection of photos from one of California’s most intense, unpredictable wildfires yet.