Wildfires Race Through Dry, Windy California (Photos)

Smoke from the Creek Fire billows beyond a ridge as seen from Huntington Lake on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, at Huntington Lake, Calif. Photo: Eric Paul Zamora / The Fresno Bee via AP

Over the last month, California wildfires have chased thousands of families from their homes, destroyed more than 3,600 buildings, blackened huge expanses of land and killed 12 people.

In all, more than two dozen major fires are burning around the state, some of them among the largest in recent California history.

Feeding off strong winds and dry brush, the fast-growing blazes have chewed through old-growth redwoods and chaparral and forced evacuations in wine country north of San Francisco and along the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Photos from The Associated Press show the flames exploding from trees and bushes, reaching out to lick vehicles, firefighters and homes. Drifting smoke chokes much of the state and fills the sky with an eerie orange glow.

In parts of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley, the smoke blocked out so much sunlight that the temperature dropped by 20 to 30 degrees Wednesday over the previous day, according to the National Weather Service.

Wildfires are also burning in Oregon and Washington state.

An air tanker drops retardant at a wildfire burns at a hillside in Yucaipa, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Wildfire smoke darkens the sky over a statue of former San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal outside Oracle Park before a baseball game between the Giants and the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Jeremy Hedrick holds his son Jeep as smoke from the Creek Fire fills the air in a marina, were campers were being held due to impassable roads, caused by the fire Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in Shaver Lake, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. The blaze, part of the lightning-sparked North Complex, expanded at a critical rate of spread as winds buffeted the region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Members of firefighters walk in line during a wildfire in Yucaipa, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Smoke from the Creek Fire fills the air over a boating dock, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Shaver Lake, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)