Firefighters spray water as flames from the Windy Fire push toward a road in California's Sequoia National Forest on September 22.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

In pictures: Wildfires raging in the West

Updated 4:08 AM ET, Thu September 23, 2021

Firefighters spray water as flames from the Windy Fire push toward a road in California's Sequoia National Forest on September 22.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of large wildfires are raging across the Western United States as the region experiences a historic and unrelenting drought.

Hundreds of thousands of acres have been burned. The nation's largest wildfire, the Dixie Fire, has been burning for over a month in Northern California, where thousands were forced to evacuate, hundreds of structures were destroyed and an entire town was nearly leveled to the ground.

With wildfires burning across much of the West, the nation is at its highest level of fire preparedness, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. This is the earliest move to Preparedness Level 5 -- also known as PL 5 -- in the past decade, the agency said.