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 The Rocky Fire broke out in Northern California’s Lake County on July 29, 2015, and quickly spread into Colusa and Yolo Counties. It was the largest of an unprecedented 23 major wildfires burning concurrently in Northern California, fought by more than 100,000 total firefighters.  Mornings were often calm, as cool temperatures kept the flames at bay, but the afternoon "witching hour" when temperatures peaked would beckon the return of fiery chaos. Once the fire again raged, it would burn well into the night, with firefighters doing their best to control the edges until the wee hours. This cycle played out day after day.   California Governor Jerry Brown, who announced a state of emergency because of the ongoing drought in January, attributed the Rocky’s Fire’s vengeance to climate change. If California continues without rain and the landscape is further desiccated, wildfires will only worsen.   Above: Billows of smoke darken the sky above the town of Lower Lake, Calif., just hours after the Rocky Fire began burning Wednesday, July 29, 2015. 

The Rocky Fire broke out in Northern California’s Lake County on July 29, 2015, and quickly spread into Colusa and Yolo Counties. It was the largest of an unprecedented 23 major wildfires burning concurrently in Northern California, fought by more than 100,000 total firefighters.

Mornings were often calm, as cool temperatures kept the flames at bay, but the afternoon "witching hour" when temperatures peaked would beckon the return of fiery chaos. Once the fire again raged, it would burn well into the night, with firefighters doing their best to control the edges until the wee hours. This cycle played out day after day. 

California Governor Jerry Brown, who announced a state of emergency because of the ongoing drought in January, attributed the Rocky’s Fire’s vengeance to climate change. If California continues without rain and the landscape is further desiccated, wildfires will only worsen. 

Above: Billows of smoke darken the sky above the town of Lower Lake, Calif., just hours after the Rocky Fire began burning Wednesday, July 29, 2015. 

 A firefighter takes a momentary break while battling the Rocky Fire near Lower Lake, Calif. The Rocky Fire was one of the most erratic and uncontrollable wildland fires California has ever seen, it’s severity fueled by the bone-dry conditions present in the state following four years of intense drought.

A firefighter takes a momentary break while battling the Rocky Fire near Lower Lake, Calif. The Rocky Fire was one of the most erratic and uncontrollable wildland fires California has ever seen, it’s severity fueled by the bone-dry conditions present in the state following four years of intense drought.

 James and Lisa Logan (left) embrace while listening to an update on current fire conditions at the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. The lodge served as a shelter for evacuated residents, who filled its front lot with RVs and tents. Others slept on cots inside. 

James and Lisa Logan (left) embrace while listening to an update on current fire conditions at the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. The lodge served as a shelter for evacuated residents, who filled its front lot with RVs and tents. Others slept on cots inside. 

 A firefighter hoses down flames along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif.

A firefighter hoses down flames along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif.

 Pictured is the charred path left in the wake of the Rocky Fire, still in its early stages. Within five days it burned 60,000 acres and caused the evacuation of approximately 13,000 residents. 

Pictured is the charred path left in the wake of the Rocky Fire, still in its early stages. Within five days it burned 60,000 acres and caused the evacuation of approximately 13,000 residents. 

 Robert Jones and his dog Baby Girl rest inside the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., after the Rocky Fire forced them to evacuate their home in the nearby community of Spring Valley. The lodge turned into a shelter for many evacuated residents, who preferred it to the Red Cross shelters where strict rules kept most away. 

Robert Jones and his dog Baby Girl rest inside the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., after the Rocky Fire forced them to evacuate their home in the nearby community of Spring Valley. The lodge turned into a shelter for many evacuated residents, who preferred it to the Red Cross shelters where strict rules kept most away. 

 A firefighter sets a backfire with a drip torch as the Rocky Fire approaches nearby residences. Over 2,900 firefighters from multiple states made next to no progress in containing the blaze within the first week.    

A firefighter sets a backfire with a drip torch as the Rocky Fire approaches nearby residences. Over 2,900 firefighters from multiple states made next to no progress in containing the blaze within the first week. 

 

 The Rocky Fire blazes toward a home on Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif. The fire destroyed 43 homes and 53 outbuildings. 

The Rocky Fire blazes toward a home on Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif. The fire destroyed 43 homes and 53 outbuildings. 

 From left, Mary Klemish retrieves last items from inside her home while evacuating as neighbors Bill Mederios and Phil Buscher wait for her. Klemish, Mederios and Buscher were just a few of the many Morgan Valley Road residents forced to urgently evacuate on short notice as the Rocky Fire erratically spread. 

From left, Mary Klemish retrieves last items from inside her home while evacuating as neighbors Bill Mederios and Phil Buscher wait for her. Klemish, Mederios and Buscher were just a few of the many Morgan Valley Road residents forced to urgently evacuate on short notice as the Rocky Fire erratically spread. 

 From left, Mary Klemish, Phil Buscher and Bill Mederios briefly stop to watch the Rocky Fire approach their homes while evacuating. They hurriedly packed their vehicles with pets and valuables before driving away. 

From left, Mary Klemish, Phil Buscher and Bill Mederios briefly stop to watch the Rocky Fire approach their homes while evacuating. They hurriedly packed their vehicles with pets and valuables before driving away. 

 Firefighters work to contain the Rocky Fire and prevent it from "jumping" Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., as smoke envelopes the surrounding hillsides.

Firefighters work to contain the Rocky Fire and prevent it from "jumping" Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., as smoke envelopes the surrounding hillsides.

 Firefighters work through the night attempting to stop a wall of flames from crossing the nearby road. Flames of this size throw embers hundreds of feet, making highways a small obstacle.

Firefighters work through the night attempting to stop a wall of flames from crossing the nearby road. Flames of this size throw embers hundreds of feet, making highways a small obstacle.

 A firefighter at the front lines is silhouetted as he monitors a pocket of flames picking up strength while burning through dry forest. 

A firefighter at the front lines is silhouetted as he monitors a pocket of flames picking up strength while burning through dry forest. 

 The smoldering remains of a destroyed home are seen near Lower Lake, Calif. 

The smoldering remains of a destroyed home are seen near Lower Lake, Calif. 

The Rocky Fire broke out in Northern California’s Lake County on July 29, 2015, and quickly spread into Colusa and Yolo Counties. It was the largest of an unprecedented 23 major wildfires burning concurrently in Northern California, fought by more than 100,000 total firefighters.

Mornings were often calm, as cool temperatures kept the flames at bay, but the afternoon "witching hour" when temperatures peaked would beckon the return of fiery chaos. Once the fire again raged, it would burn well into the night, with firefighters doing their best to control the edges until the wee hours. This cycle played out day after day. 

California Governor Jerry Brown, who announced a state of emergency because of the ongoing drought in January, attributed the Rocky’s Fire’s vengeance to climate change. If California continues without rain and the landscape is further desiccated, wildfires will only worsen. 

Above: Billows of smoke darken the sky above the town of Lower Lake, Calif., just hours after the Rocky Fire began burning Wednesday, July 29, 2015. 

A firefighter takes a momentary break while battling the Rocky Fire near Lower Lake, Calif. The Rocky Fire was one of the most erratic and uncontrollable wildland fires California has ever seen, it’s severity fueled by the bone-dry conditions present in the state following four years of intense drought.

James and Lisa Logan (left) embrace while listening to an update on current fire conditions at the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. The lodge served as a shelter for evacuated residents, who filled its front lot with RVs and tents. Others slept on cots inside. 

A firefighter hoses down flames along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif.

Pictured is the charred path left in the wake of the Rocky Fire, still in its early stages. Within five days it burned 60,000 acres and caused the evacuation of approximately 13,000 residents. 

Robert Jones and his dog Baby Girl rest inside the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., after the Rocky Fire forced them to evacuate their home in the nearby community of Spring Valley. The lodge turned into a shelter for many evacuated residents, who preferred it to the Red Cross shelters where strict rules kept most away. 

A firefighter sets a backfire with a drip torch as the Rocky Fire approaches nearby residences. Over 2,900 firefighters from multiple states made next to no progress in containing the blaze within the first week. 

 

The Rocky Fire blazes toward a home on Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif. The fire destroyed 43 homes and 53 outbuildings. 

From left, Mary Klemish retrieves last items from inside her home while evacuating as neighbors Bill Mederios and Phil Buscher wait for her. Klemish, Mederios and Buscher were just a few of the many Morgan Valley Road residents forced to urgently evacuate on short notice as the Rocky Fire erratically spread. 

From left, Mary Klemish, Phil Buscher and Bill Mederios briefly stop to watch the Rocky Fire approach their homes while evacuating. They hurriedly packed their vehicles with pets and valuables before driving away. 

Firefighters work to contain the Rocky Fire and prevent it from "jumping" Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., as smoke envelopes the surrounding hillsides.

Firefighters work through the night attempting to stop a wall of flames from crossing the nearby road. Flames of this size throw embers hundreds of feet, making highways a small obstacle.

A firefighter at the front lines is silhouetted as he monitors a pocket of flames picking up strength while burning through dry forest. 

The smoldering remains of a destroyed home are seen near Lower Lake, Calif. 

 The Rocky Fire broke out in Northern California’s Lake County on July 29, 2015, and quickly spread into Colusa and Yolo Counties. It was the largest of an unprecedented 23 major wildfires burning concurrently in Northern California, fought by more than 100,000 total firefighters.  Mornings were often calm, as cool temperatures kept the flames at bay, but the afternoon "witching hour" when temperatures peaked would beckon the return of fiery chaos. Once the fire again raged, it would burn well into the night, with firefighters doing their best to control the edges until the wee hours. This cycle played out day after day.   California Governor Jerry Brown, who announced a state of emergency because of the ongoing drought in January, attributed the Rocky’s Fire’s vengeance to climate change. If California continues without rain and the landscape is further desiccated, wildfires will only worsen.   Above: Billows of smoke darken the sky above the town of Lower Lake, Calif., just hours after the Rocky Fire began burning Wednesday, July 29, 2015. 
 A firefighter takes a momentary break while battling the Rocky Fire near Lower Lake, Calif. The Rocky Fire was one of the most erratic and uncontrollable wildland fires California has ever seen, it’s severity fueled by the bone-dry conditions present in the state following four years of intense drought.
 James and Lisa Logan (left) embrace while listening to an update on current fire conditions at the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. The lodge served as a shelter for evacuated residents, who filled its front lot with RVs and tents. Others slept on cots inside. 
 A firefighter hoses down flames along Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif.
 Pictured is the charred path left in the wake of the Rocky Fire, still in its early stages. Within five days it burned 60,000 acres and caused the evacuation of approximately 13,000 residents. 
 Robert Jones and his dog Baby Girl rest inside the Moose Lodge in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., after the Rocky Fire forced them to evacuate their home in the nearby community of Spring Valley. The lodge turned into a shelter for many evacuated residents, who preferred it to the Red Cross shelters where strict rules kept most away. 
 A firefighter sets a backfire with a drip torch as the Rocky Fire approaches nearby residences. Over 2,900 firefighters from multiple states made next to no progress in containing the blaze within the first week.    
 The Rocky Fire blazes toward a home on Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif. The fire destroyed 43 homes and 53 outbuildings. 
 From left, Mary Klemish retrieves last items from inside her home while evacuating as neighbors Bill Mederios and Phil Buscher wait for her. Klemish, Mederios and Buscher were just a few of the many Morgan Valley Road residents forced to urgently evacuate on short notice as the Rocky Fire erratically spread. 
 From left, Mary Klemish, Phil Buscher and Bill Mederios briefly stop to watch the Rocky Fire approach their homes while evacuating. They hurriedly packed their vehicles with pets and valuables before driving away. 
 Firefighters work to contain the Rocky Fire and prevent it from "jumping" Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, Calif., as smoke envelopes the surrounding hillsides.
 Firefighters work through the night attempting to stop a wall of flames from crossing the nearby road. Flames of this size throw embers hundreds of feet, making highways a small obstacle.
 A firefighter at the front lines is silhouetted as he monitors a pocket of flames picking up strength while burning through dry forest. 
 The smoldering remains of a destroyed home are seen near Lower Lake, Calif.