So far the Carr fire has scorched more than 130,000 square acres of northern California, leaving a trail of destroyed buildings and damaged forests in its wake.
Photos from satellites have revealed just how arid California appears from space after reaching near-record levels of dryness from an extended drought.
But so far no pictures from space have truly captured how dramatic and devastating these fires have been until German astronaut Alexander Gerst posted photos from the International Space Station on Friday.
“California burning,” Gerst wrote on Twitter. “These fires are frightening to watch, even from space. Here’s a shout-out from space to all firefighters on this planet, my former colleagues. Stay safe my friends!”
The massive columns of smoke stretch high into the sky revealing the magnitude of the fire. Winds appear to push miles and miles of smoke coverage in one direction, cloaking all of the surrounding areas.
Wildfires are not uncommon in this area. However the strength of these fires has been intensified because of an extended drought and prolonged heatwaves — both likely enhanced by human-caused climate change.
The photos also reveal how much larger the northern fires are in comparison to those burning elsewhere in the state.
While the Carr Fire is rightfully demanding most of the media’s attention, there are at least 17 other fires currently burning throughout California.