Raging California Wildfires Spotted from Space (Photos)

California's Camp Fire Nov. 8, 2018
The Operational Land Imager aboard the NASA-USGS Landsat 8 satellite captured this image of California's Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018, around 10:45 a.m. local time (1845 GMT). (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from USGS)

California is burning again, and satellites are showing the scope of the damage.

The Landsat 8 spacecraft, which is run jointly by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), captured dramatic imagery Thursday (Nov. 8) of the Camp Fire. The fast-moving blaze has destroyed the Northern California town of Paradise, killed at least nine people and sent smoke billowing across much of the state.

NASA's Terra satellite also snapped a photo of the Camp Fire's plume, in a wide shot that included a view of the Hill and Woolsey fires in Southern California. [In Photos: The 2018 California Wildfires as Seen from Space]

The Camp Fire started at about 6:30 a.m. PST Thursday. By Friday evening (Nov. 9), it had scorched about 90,000 acres (36,400 hectares) and remained just 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Together, the Woolsey and Hill fires had burned nearly 40,000 acres (16,200 hectares) in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, by Friday evening.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on NASA's Terra satellite captured this natural-color image of California wildfires on Nov. 9, 2018. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview )

For the latest updates about these and other California blazes, go to Cal Fire's "Incidents" page.

This has been a particularly destructive and tragic year for wildfires in the Golden State. Over the summer, for example, the Mendocino Complex Fire burned 459,123 acres (185,800 hectares) — more ground than any other wildfire in the state's history. 

Also this summer, the Carr Fireraged through Shasta and Trinity counties, destroying more than 1,500 buildings and causing eight deaths, according to media reports. 

Mike Wall's book about the search for alien life, "Out There," will be published on Nov. 13 by Grand Central Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook. Originally published on Space.com.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com 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.