In Photos: The 2018 California Wildfires as Seen from Space

Cosmonaut's View of California Fires

Oleg Artemyev/Roscosmos via Twitter

The California fires have pumped huge amounts of smoke into the air.

ESA Astronaut's View of California Fires

Alexander Gerst/ESA via Twitter

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this view of the California wildfires, as seen from the International Space Station (ISS), on Twitter on Aug. 3, 2018.

California Wildfires, Seen by Astronaut Alexander Gerst

ESA/Alexander Gerst

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst took this photo on Aug. 3, 2018, from the International Space Station. California’s raging Carr and Ferguson fires are clearly visible.

Ricky Arnold's View of the California Fires

Ricky Arnold/NASA via Twitter

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold took this photo of the California wildfires from the International Space Station and shared it via Twitter on Aug. 6, 2018.

Smoke for Miles

Ricky Arnold/NASA via Twitter

Smoke from the California fires billows far to the east in this image, captured from orbit by NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold.

Terra Satellite Shot of West Coast Fires

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Science Data and Information System

NASA's Terra satellite captured this view of the many fires blazing up and down the West Coast of the United States on July 26, 2018.

Blankets of Smoke

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) project

Smoke from California's many wildfires spreads as far east as Salt Lake City in this image, which was captured by NASA's Aqua satellite on July 29, 2018.

ECOSTRESS Image of Western Wildfires


This image, captured by NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) instrument aboard the International Space Station on July 28, 2018, shows three wildfires burning in the western US (in red) — the Carr and Whaleback fires in California, and the Perry Fire in Nevada.

ECOSTRESS View of Carr Fire


This zoomed-in ECOSTRESS image from July 28, 2018, shows California’s Carr Fire burning (in red), along with the blaze’s thick smoke plumes.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.