California wildfires: Vast burn scars visible from space

The images show a 70-mile stretch east of San Jose in northern California following the SCU Lightning Complex fires

Louise Boyle
New York
Tuesday 29 September 2020 15:21
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Wildfires rage in California

The third-largest fire in California’s history has left a burn scar across the northern California landscape that is visible from space. 

The images, taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite, show a 70-mile wide area east of San Jose.

Before and after views reveal the size of the area, equivalent to 300,000 football fields, that was scorched by the SCU Lightning Complex fires which ignited in California in August. 

The SCU Lightning Complex started on 18 August and has burned for 41 days, according to Cal Fire. It is now 98 per cent contained. The fire burned through almost 400,000 acres and destroyed 222 buildings.

Around 30 wildfires are currently burning around California. On Tuesday, the National Weather Service warned of hotter than normal temperatures, very dry conditions and gusty Santa Ana winds in Southern California, creating critical fire weather conditions.

This week, a massive fire exploded in California wine country, burning through Napa and Sonoma counties. 

The Glass Fire has not been contained and has now tripled in size and is now raging across 56.6 square miles (146.59 square kilometers). 

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and around two dozen homes have burned. 

Further north in Shasta County, more than 1,200 people were evacuated from the Zogg Fire. The country sheriff said that three people had died in the fire and urged people to heed evacuation orders.

It has been a historic fire season on the west coast. In California more than 8,100 wildfires have burned, leading to 29 deaths and the destruction of more than 7,000 buildings. The fires have spread across 5,780 square miles (14,970 square kilometers).

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