LA Times photographer captures the devastation of the Dixie fire
The second-largest California wildfire has burned more than 500,000 acres. See the remains through the smoke and ash.
With each passing mile, the smoke from the Dixie fire got thicker and thicker as I drove up Highway 89 in Plumas County. Visibility was decreasing at a steady pace to no more than 10 feet in front of me once I reached my destination of Greenville. If you have ever looked out of the window of a jetliner as it graces the clouds, that’s what it felt like, except I was the pilot this time without any instrument training. My only thought was, if I drive slow enough, I can hopefully react quick enough to limit the damage if I hit something or someone.
I made it safely. Once I got out of the car, the smell of an ashtray filled to the brim filled my nose. This was one town I was sure of where nobody on this day was anti-mask.
The smoke that hung in the air made it impossible to immediately see how decimated the town was. As I walked in, seeing structure after structure burned to the ground, the terrible reality set in. And all those once-beautiful trees are completely scorched. The only thing — it seemed to me — that was still green in Greenville is the name itself.
Photo editing by Jacob Moscovitch.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.