A firefighter pulls a hose to keep flames from advancing to adjacent homes while battling the Lilac fire at Rancho Monserate Country Club.

A firefighter pulls a hose to keep flames from advancing to adjacent homes while battling the Lilac fire at Rancho Monserate Country Club.

Image: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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.

Firefighters battle a fireball.

Firefighters battle a fireball.

Image: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A water-dropping helicopter drops its load onto burning homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club.

A water-dropping helicopter drops its load onto burning homes at Rancho Monserate Country Club.

Image: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A firefighter turns away from the heat as flames explode through the front windows of a home burning in the Lilac fire.

A firefighter turns away from the heat as flames explode through the front windows of a home burning in the Lilac fire.

Image: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

PALA MESA, CA - DECEMBER 7, 2017: Many homes are burning as an firefighters pull hose to keep flames from advancing to adjacent homes while battling the Lilac fire at Rancho Monserate Country Club on December 7, 2017 in Pala Mesa, California.(Phot by Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Image: LA Times via Getty Images

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