Photography is a powerful medium through which to tell stories. As the record hot and dry summer of 2015 continues, and wildfires from California to Alaska continue to burn, here is a wonderful, scary story as told through photographs by Californian journalist Max Whittaker. These photos bring the intensity of wildfire home.

Wildfires are likely to get more frequent and more intense as our planet continues heating up. Droughts drain the soil of moisture which helps fires burn hotter. Wildfires release stored CO2 in the trees into the atmosphere contributing to a positive feedback loop that accelerates climate change. In the far north, wildfires can melt permafrost, releasing even more carbon into the atmosphere, another positive feedback loop whose consequences are anything but positive.

Every wildfire is a good reminder that we need to change our way of life to one without fossil fuels.