Hauntingly Beautiful Photography of California Wildfires

Stuart Palley has spent the past five years photographing wildfires across California. Getting his shots specifically at night, Palley has been able to capture the haunting beauty of glowing hillsides and fiery forests.

See all of Stuart Palley’s work




Although wildfires cause pain and suffering to the communities they ravage, enjoying the eery images of the flames can be cathartic. Here are some of Palley’s best photos from the past five years:

The Cabin Fire burns Friday evening in the Angeles National Forest off Highway 39 August 14, 2015. The fire started Friday afternoon and destroyed multiple structures. The fire was 0% contained and estimated at 1,800 acres.
2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, CA Friday June 5, 2015.
A front gate stating “This Is Where I Belong” remains standing amidst a smoldering home in Middletown, CA after the Valley Fire tore through the town overnight on September 13th, 2015. Over 1,000 homes eventually were counted destroyed and 4 persons perished in the fire.




The Cabin Fire burns Friday evening in the Angeles National Forest off Highway 39 August 14, 2015. The fire started Friday afternoon and destroyed multiple structures. The fire was 0% contained and estimated at 1,800 acres.
The Border Fire burns near Campo and Potrero Wednesday in San Diego County, CA. The fire was 15% contained and had burned approximately 6,500 acres.




The Willow Fire burns in the Sierra National Forest early Sunday morning July 26, 2015. By first light the fire had burned approx. 1,100 acres and was 5 % contained. Some roads were closed and evacuations were in place as 450 structures were threatened. The fire was burning in Willow Canyon.

The Rocky Fire burns overnight near the town of Clear Lake, CA in Lake County, CA. The fire was over 13,500 acres and 5% contained as of Thursday evening. Hot and dry weather caused the fire to burn actively at night, threatening homes and downing power lines. At least three home were destroyed.




The Wragg Fire rekindled near Vacaville, CA Tuesday July 28, 2015. The fire, which was mostly contained, grew a few hundred more acres after spots inside the fire re-ignited and threatened to breach contingency lines.







The Wragg Fire rekindled near Vacaville, CA Tuesday July 28, 2015. The fire, which was mostly contained, grew a few hundred more acres after spots inside the fire re-ignited and threatened to breach contingency lines.

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