Oil floats on the water surface after an oil spill in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday, to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

This weekend saw one of California’s largest oil spills in recent history.

People began reporting an oil sheen and smell on Friday, but the Coast Guard didn’t confirm an oil slick until Saturday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.

(MORE: Crews Race to Save Wildlife from Oil Spill in California)

Photos show oil that washed onto the sand and oil slick on the water at Huntington Beach, California, as crews worked to clean it up.

The leak dumped an estimated 126,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean, according to The Guardian, and will likely continue to wash up onto shore along California’s coast for days, and could keep beaches closed for weeks or months.

Endangered species such as the snowy plover, the California least tern and humpback whales are found along the miles of affected coast where the spill occurred, the AP reported. Wildlife officials began transporting affected birds and wildlife to rescue centers.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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