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Scale of Californian Wildfires ‘Surreal’

“The sheer amount of fire on the landscape is surreal.”Nick Nausler, National Interagency Fire Center

Wildfires have raged through 3.4million acres in the state of California USA. Other fires have also swept across parts of Oregon and Washington State destroying 805,314 acres and 500,000 acres respectively.

As of 18th of September 26 people had died as a result of the fires in California including a firefighter.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 7,900 wildfires that have burned over 3.4 million acres in California. Since August 15, when California’s fire activity elevated, there have been over 5,500 structures destroyed. CALFIRE

The fires also caused massive plumes of smoke filled debris. One cloud was estimated at 963,269 square miles by NOAA/NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite.

The square miles of smoke in the image below totals 963,269. That estimate has been computed using the measurement tool within the NASA Worldview application. Credit: NASA Worldview

It captured images of the smoke cloud which had travelled 1,300 miles by the 10th of September out across the Pacific Ocean.

Drought, excessive heat and strong winds fanned the flames. Experts have warned that wildfires will worsen due to climate change.

NOAA/NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured these series of images showing the winds changing direction on Sep. 06, 2020 when choking clouds of brown smoke began to billow and cascade into the Pacific Ocean. By Sep. 10, the smoke cloud had traveled over 1,300 miles. Credit: NASA Worldview

Predictive meterologist for the National Interagency Fire Center, Nick Nausler, tweeted:

“Multiple fires made 20-plus mile runs in 24 hours over the last few days in California, Oregon and Washington.

“Such distances traveled so quickly may not be all that rare in grassland fires. However, most of these fires are making massive runs in timber and burning tens of thousands of acres and in some cases 100,000-plus acres in one day.

“The sheer amount of fire on the landscape is surreal.”

You can see more images here: NASA

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