California Fires Burning So Strong They're Visible From Outer Space


Those flames are so large, the astronauts on board the International Space Station can see them.

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik photographed the plumes of smoke on December 5, and shared the images with his followers on social media, writing, "Thank you to all the first responders, firefighters, and citizens willing to help fight these California wildfires".

The images were taken using a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). They show smoke billowing across the Pacific Ocean from multiple fires, the largest of which is the Thomas fire in Ventura County. The red parts of the images show actively burning fires.

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The four fires are now blazing through thousands of acres in California, forcing residents to evacuate.

A prolonged spell of dry weather also primed the area for major fires. Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik, and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, IZ0JPA, and Sergey Ryazanskiy will undock the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft from the space station at 1716 UTC, landing in Kazakhstan several hours later, concluding 139 days in space since their launch on July 28.

Strong winds are hindering the efforts of fire crews. The MSI makes observations in visible, shortwave infrared and near infrared light.