Scary photos of California from space give a whole new perspective of the raging wildfires

Last week, California’s water-starved landscape was hit with a series of intense lightning storms that sparked over two dozen wildfires. While firefighters battle the flames on the ground, NASA satellites are documenting the damage from space.

This photo was taken last Tuesday (Aug. 4) by the Terra satellite, oribting Earth 443 miles above the surface. Red circles outline the regions that were actively burning at the time the picture was taken:

When combined, intense lightning, drought-ridden landscapes, and high winds generate the perfect storm for sparking and spreading wildfires.

On July 30, a single lightning storm that moved through Northern California spawned seven fires that grew to over two dozen. “After initial firefighters responded, 25 fires were reported and most of the fires were contained,” NASA reported.

The photo below was taken one day later, on Wednesday, Aug. 5. You can clearly see the giant smoke clouds moving to the east as the fires continue to burn.

California’s wildfires have been consuming the sunshine state’s central and north-eastern landscape for eight weeks straight now. So far, they have scorched over 250 square miles, driven thousands of residents from their homes, and destroyed tens of homes and public buildings while threatening hundreds of millions of dollars in additional property damage.

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