An apocalyptic ambiance: Fires on America's West Coast seen through amateur images

Bidwell Bar Bridge in Oroville, California, where the fires have ravaged an adjacent hill. Photo posted on Twitter.
Bidwell Bar Bridge in Oroville, California, where the fires have ravaged an adjacent hill. Photo posted on Twitter.

For three weeks, "historic" fires have ravaged the West Coast of the United States. The states of Oregon, California and Washington are all battling fires. Residents in this region are sharing shocking images on social media. Many have called the fires a consequence of climate change.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares have gone up in smoke and at least six people have been found dead in these unprecedented fires. The powerful heatwave and strong winds that blew through the region in recent days contributed to the start of fires, according to local authorities. The fires run from Canada all the way south to the border with Mexico. On social media, images of an orange, red,  and black sky are being shared with locals' comments, shocked by this unprecedented phenomenon. 

In Mill City, Oregon, firefighters are shocked

Under an orange sky in Oregon...

...that turned red in four minutes

A black sky under a red sun in California

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge obscured with smoke and fog. 

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As I visited landmarks around San Francisco this morning, I saw loads of people just like me—masked, alone, and staring out at the reality of our changing climate. I wonder what memories they were reliving looking out at the city. I personally was thinking about my first dates, acid trips, and bike rides that happened here. There was a little kid at Lands’ End marveling at the sky; I wonder if his strongest memory of this place will be bloodred and smoky. . . . Two things on my mind: 1) LOML & perfect human Eva Reyes mentioned earlier this week that now more than ever we should turn to Indigenous leadership. While most of the US feels like the world is ending, many Native groups have already had their apocalypse. They’ve already lived through a hell of sickness, slavery, and loss of land, and have rebuilt resilient and collaborative communities in the aftermath. 2) I’m recommending the book Parable of the Sower to literally everyone I know!! It follows a young black woman creating a new society after an apocalypse caused by climate change, pandemics, and social inequality hits. Sound familiar? Not only that, but the president elect runs on the slogan “Make America Great Again”… Octavia Butler wrote this in 1993 so yeah its pretty damn sp????ky! . . . . that’s all. Thanks for coming to my ted talk lol (p.s. there’s no filter on these photos!! Isn’t that crazy)

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What should have been a sunny day

"California is one of the biggest oil-producing states in the nation, while CO2 emissions from oil and gas extraction fuels the unprecedented heatwaves that started these fires in the first place," writes environmental organisation Sun Rise Movement in an Instagram post on September 10.


Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state said that nine fires in the state have burned more than 133 000 hectares in 24 hours, which is more than double the area burned in all of 2019.

"We’re living in a new world – this is not the old Washington," he said, attributing the effects of climate change to the magnitude of these fires. "Conditions are so dry, so hot, so windy because the climate has changed."

Article written by Omar Tiss