On Saturday 12 September a small fire started in a utility shed in the bone-dry, shimmering heat of Lake County, California. The flames crept across the landscape slowly at first before exploding into a conflagration that burned 50,000 acres in just 24 hours. By the time Cal Fire had the blaze under control, it had consumed 76,000 acres. It spread so quickly that many communities barely had time to evacuate, with citizens fleeing as their homes burned down in their rear-view mirrors and trees exploded by the side of the road. Many were forced to leave their animals behind, unable to locate them in the rush to escape. Pets and livestock were forced to fend for themselves in the swirling flames, some surviving in miraculously unburnt homes and barns, while others managed to outrun or shelter from the fire.