What the California Rim Fire looks like from space

NASA captures stunning images of the inferno's spread

Topics: Wildfire, NASA, International Space Station, Yosemite, California, satellite, slideshow,

What the California Rim Fire looks like from space (Credit: NASA)

From above the atmosphere, NASA has been tracking the California Rim Fire. Satellites captured some images, others were taken with ordinary cameras. While down on Earth, firefighters struggle to contain the blaze and protect California’s natural resources, this pulled-back perspective helps get across the scope of the fire and its exponential rate of expansion.

 

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    NASA

    California Rim Fire

    This is the view from the International Space Station, taken with a 50mm lens by an Expedition 36 crew member on August 24.

    California Rim Fire

    NASA's Aqua satellite used its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to collect natural-color images of the Rim Fire's rapid expansion. Actively burning areas are outlined in red. This image was taken on August 22, five days after the fire was first discovered; the next few slides show how it grew over the week.

    NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC

    California Rim Fire

    The Rim Fire on August 25.

    NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team

    California Rim Fire

    Another image of the Rim Fire on August 25.

    NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC

    California Rim Fire

    The Rim Fire on August 26.

    NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC

    California Rim Fire

    The latest MODIS image of the Rim Fire, from August 27.

    NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon

    California Rim Fire

    The Suomi NPP satellite tracked the growth of the Rim Fire at night, using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). These images show the fire's growth between August 23 and August 26. A caption explains what we're seeing: "The brightest, most intense parts of the fire glow white, exceeding the brightness of the lights of Reno, Nevada to the north."

    NASA

    California Rim Fire

    Another view from the International Space Station, this time captured on August 26.

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Lindsay Abrams
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

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