Dramatic photos show firefighters battle a blaze north of San Diego

It takes a lot of bravery to be a firefighter. 

In San Diego County, where the Lilac fire has burned more than 4,100 acres, photographer Gina Ferazzi from the Los Angeles Times captured these dramatic photos of firefighters battling a blaze in the Rancho Monserate Country Club on Thursday. At least 20 homes in the retirement community have been destroyed, according to the Associated Press. 

A number of other fires continue to burn across Southern California. The largest is the Thomas fire north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, which has consumed at least 439 structures and forced the evacuation of 50,000 people. 

The Lilac fire started off Interstate 15 near Bonsall, north of San Diego, fueled by the intense Santa Ana winds that have fanned flames in four counties. California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Diego County on Thursday night. 

These photos, which show firefighters from Oceanside dealing with fireballs and hellish flames, should reinforce what you already knew: these people are heroes.  

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