NASA has released shocking photos of the California Camp Fire, showing the spread of the record-breaking blaze from space. Already named the state’s most destructive fire in recorded history, although the Camp Fire only began on November 8, it has already spread to a whopping 125,000 acres in size.
In the process, 42 deaths have already been recorded, though that number could well rise as emergency services explore the aftermath. Over 7,000 structures have been destroyed so far. Currently, only around 30-percent of the fire has been contained.
There are a variety of tools to keep up to date with the progress of the fire-fighting efforts. CAL FIRE, for instance, has a statewide incident mp which shows its current operations, along with links to the latest evacuation orders. So far, over 52,000 people have been evacuated.
To that, NASA is bringing another perspective. It has shared photos from the NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS), which combines imagery and data from satellites, aircraft, field measurements, and other sources. These latest images were collected on November 12, and are part of Worldview’s regularly updated global satellite imagery of the Earth.
It makes for ominous viewing. The spread of the Camp Fire has been astonishingly rapid, as the above GIF showing its expansion from November 6 demonstrates, and efforts to contain it have been hampered by a number of factors. Low humidity levels have left plenty of dry plants to fuel the fire, while the steep terrain has slowed efforts by firefighters to deal with the blaze.
Unfortunately for those in the areas around the current fire, that forecast isn’t especially promising for the days ahead. While some of the teams on the ground will be battling the fires directly, others will be creating contingency lines ahead of its predicted spread, in the hope of slowing it down. If there’s a glimmer of hope it’s that the high winds which contributed to the very rapid expansion initially have since died down somewhat, and thus slowing the growth in turn.
Exactly how long it might take to tackle it completely is still unclear. CAL FIRE is issuing evacuation warnings via its social media channels, and those potentially affected are being advised to keep a close eye on what could be a rapidly-changing situation.