The late-season Camp wildfire is still raging across Northern California, but firefighters are gradually corralling the Woolsey Fire, which has burned swaths of Southern California.
That means that the work of satellites monitoring the fires is shifting. While images of the Camp Fire are still being used to track the blaze itself, scientists are now focusing their satellite analysis on measuring the destruction left behind. [Satellite Photos of the 2018 California Wildfires]
The six-day-old #CampFire has already attained the unfortunate title of California's deadliest fire, reaching 125,000 acres in size. Last year, the #CarrFire was California's deadliest fire with eight deaths attributed to the fire. https://t.co/uBl2frqg1D pic.twitter.com/ALcViYKAne— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) November 13, 2018
According to CBS News, the Camp Fire has left 56 dead, with more than 100 people missing. California's fire bureau reports that the fire is currently 35 percent contained and has burned 138,000 acres (560 square kilometers).
Suomi-NPP and #NOAA20, flying 50 minutes apart, both revealed continued smoke associated with the #CampFire in #NorCal today, but practically nothing from the #WoolseyFire in #SoCal. #CaliforniaFires #CAwx pic.twitter.com/pmpQlfPWua— UW-Madison CIMSS (@UWCIMSS) November 14, 2018
In Southern California, firefighters are making more headway; the Woolsey blaze is currently 57 percent contained, although it has burned more than 98,000 acres (400 square kilometers).
Clouds cover smoke from the #CampFire today, which is good news because it signifies increased humidity which aids #firefighters. But smoke from the #WoolsleyFire still commands the #SoCal scene in this Terra #MODIS image. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/ybpXZfQmLt— UW-Madison CIMSS (@UWCIMSS) November 13, 2018
NASA personnel are also setting to work mapping the damage caused by that blaze. By comparing and contrasting radar images gathered by satellites before and during the fire, a team based at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created a map showing where the surface of the Earth has changed. The researchers have shared that map with emergency responders and disaster personnel.
And it's not just scars from the recent fires that satellites can see; even last year's fires are still leaving their mark on the Earth. In these satellite images, the Woolsey burn scar is particularly obvious in the pinkish spot. But to the northwest, a large patch of tannish area marks where the Thomas Fire burned last December.