Hell Erupts in California: Inside the Wragg Fire with Photographer Donna Forman

Hell erupts in California


Firefighting in California has a definition all its own. And, unfortunately, those who battle the flames, heat, and smoke have been put to the test recently with the eruption of several large wildfires.

The smoke from the fire above (the Wragg fire near Lake Berryessa/Napa area) was easily seen from my backyard. In fact, the fire was so large—over 8,000 acres and counting—that we first saw the smoke as we drove out of San Francisco a couple of days ago.

As of today, over 1,400 firefighters are battling this blast furnace in the hills. Much of the terrain is steep and nearly unreachable, but they’re there, somehow. And they’re also fighting the fires that endanger homes and animals. This thing is massive and people have been forced to flee their homes, leaving precious belongings behind. Believe me, this is not a fire where the shiny red trucks roll up, hook a hose to a hydrant, spray water for a few minutes, and all is well. Not even close. This one is D.A.N.G.E.R.O.U.S.!

I know, sitting at your computer in an area that’s regularly dampened by wonderfully cool and refreshing summer rains, you have no concept of a California wildfire. So, here’s a closeup journey inside the searing heat and flames of the Wragg fire, courtesy of photographer Donna Forman. Notice the special firefighting equipment—air tankers and helicopters. Remember, much of the area is not accessible by vehicle.

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Thanks so much to Donna Forman for these incredible photos. You can view more images of the fire at Donna Forman Photography. While you’re there say hi, and please tell her I sent you.

By the way, Donna is a retired Richmond, California K9 officer who worked two K9’s back to back. She also worked HRET, narcotics, and was the first female dirt bike Motorcycle officer.