2020 Photo Contest, Environment, 2nd Prize

Battling the Marsh Fire


Noah Berger

for Associated Press

03 August, 2019

Firefighters battle the Marsh Complex Fire, near the town of Brentwood, California, USA.

The Marsh Complex Fire began near Marsh Creek Road in Contra Costa County on 3 August and burned until 7 August, laying waste to more than 300 hectares of land. Roughly 81,000 hectares (200,000 acres) burned statewide in California in 2019, compared with 765,000 in 2018, and 525,000 in 2017. California usually has a fire season in the fall, when strong winds blow across forests and brushland that has dried out from summer heat and not yet experienced winter rains. Many scientists attributed the early fires to the climate crisis, saying that a warmer atmosphere means that the vegetation is drying out more than it did a century ago. Old, faulty equipment belonging to the state’s largest power companies has also been blamed for sparking fires in windy weather. President Donald Trump accused the Californian state government of bad forest management, saying that was the cause of the fires.

About the photographer

Noah Berger

Freelance photographer Noah Berger’s career spans 25 years shooting for editorial, corporate and government clients. He works regularly for major news outlets including the...

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