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Pictures From the Fires Where ‘All Hell Is Breaking Loose’

10:12 AM PST on December 12, 2017

The brush fires are not going away.

Despite the return of calm to the L.A. hills after last week’s Skirball and Creek fires, the Thomas Fire out in Ventura is still growing, like a monster from another world. It’s creeping into Santa Barbara County and now has burned an area greater than the size of New York City.

That’s more than 230,000 acres of charred land, and counting. This morning the fire is approaching Montecito and Carpinteria. Briefly overnight there was a scare back up in the Bay Area, which earlier this fire season suffered the deadly North Bay fires. Those caught up to people in their houses as they were sleeping.

We’ve been here before.

Year after year Southern California especially gets hit by wildfires that leave lives shattered and homes destroyed. The troubling part is that fires of this intensity are unusual in December, yet another notch on what every sane scientist has said would happen once climate change reaches a tipping point.

Look at the numbers: Cal Fire, or the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said that in 2016 there were 4,742 wildfires through December 3. In 2017, we’ve had 6,762 wildfires — and burned more than twice the acreage — in the same period.

Gov. Jerry Brown, on his way to another climate conference with world leaders in Paris, warned that it could get worse and worse, and told CBS flat out: “The planet is warming, and all hell is breaking loose.”

The biggest of all this year is the Thomas Fire, which grew stronger over the week and like a blob began extending into Santa Barbara County. Capt. Brendan Ripley of the Ventura County Fire Department said the fire is so powerful it’s creating its own weather, making it officially a firestorm, according to the Daily News.

Most of the other 18 million of us in SoCal who didn’t die, lose their homes, or evacuate in these fires will not have to see them up-close. We take for granted that thousands of firefighters are out there, many of them from the prisons population, making sure the fires don’t burn out of control and consume us all.

See more of Yam’s photos via his Twitter and IG. Follow @LATimesPhotos for more images from the skilled photogs hustling at the big daily.

Another standout for me is Gene Blevins, who seems to be a freelancer with agencies, and doesnt appear to do social media. He took a photo of the same subject as Yam’s above:

Mother Nature dominates the news again. Gene Blevins remarkable fire image from California will be included in the December Pictures of the Month for @ZUMApress #photojournalism https://t.co/TM2Ku4gyv3 pic.twitter.com/OUL6uI5rKh

— Jim Colton (@JimmyColton) December 8, 2017

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