‘That’s 2020’: Photographer’s California wildfire image ‘a sign of the times’


Flames from the LNU Lightning Complex fires burn in unincorporated Napa County, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The blaze went on to destroy multiple homes near Lake Berryessa. Fire crews across the region scrambled to contain dozens of wildfires sparked by lightning strikes as a statewide heat wave continues. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

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A photographer may have encapsulated 2020 in a single photo taken during the California wildfires Tuesday.

Associated Press photographer Noah Berger took the now-viral shot while covering the fires in Northern California after a series of lightning strikes started blazes across the state.

The image shows a senior center’s sign that reads “wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, stay safe, come join us,” surrounded by flames and smoke.

“It doesn’t take a lot, you just look at that sign and think, ‘That’s 2020,'” he told AP Media Relations Manager Patrick Maks. “That’s a sign of the times that everybody is so freaked out about this one thing and another crazy thing comes on top of it. It didn’t take me long to make that connection even when I was shooting it.”

The perfect juxtaposition of 2020 threats didn’t escape notice on Twitter:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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