Science

These images from NASA show how serious the California wildfires are

The fires can be seen from space.

NASA has released images showing the wildfires sweeping across California from above.

Two images were taken from NASA’s Terra Satellite on December 5. They show smoke billowing across the Pacific Ocean from multiple fires, the largest of which is the Thomas fire in Ventura County.

Both images were taken using a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The red parts of the images show actively burning fires.

The Thomas fire alone has scorched over 96,000 acres and caused over 150,000 people to evacuate their homes.

(NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens
(NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens)

There are three other large fires currently burning; the Rye fire, the Skirball fire and the Creek fire, all of which have been exacerbated by strong Santa Ana winds.

The photograph below was also taken on December 5 by the Multi Spectral Imager on the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite. The active fire is orange and the burned area is brown, showing a huge area of destruction left by the flames.

(NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens)
(NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens)

Astronaut Randy Bresnik also shared pictures from the International Space Station after receiving a question on whether he could see the fires from space.

More than 4,500 firefighters have been working to stem the fire.

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