california-wildfires-leave-'extensive'-burn-scars,-containment-grows

California wildfires leave 'extensive' burn scars, containment grows

Firefighters in California are gaining more ground against relentless wildfires that were sparked by lightning, but the extensive scars on the land left behind can be seen from space.

Cal Fire said Monday that the LNU Lightning Complex fires that have burned 375,209 acres are now 63% contained, while the SCU Lightning Complex fires that have scorched 383,157 acres are 60% contained.

The fires burning in rugged hills north of San Francisco have destroyed more than 1,200 homes and other structures and killed five people since igniting two weeks ago.

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Imagery from NASA’s Terra satellite shows burn scars from the two largest blazes in the state.

The red marks depict “fire detections,” or pixels in which the sensor and a computer algorithm indicated there was active fire, according to NASA.

Burn scars can be seen on satellite imagery from NASA, as well as where active fires are burning in Northern California on Aug. 26, 2020.

Burn scars can be seen on satellite imagery from NASA, as well as where active fires are burning in Northern California on Aug. 26, 2020.
(NASA)

In other imagery, burned vegetation appears brown while unburned vegetation still shows as bright green.

Burn scars can be seen on satellite imagery from NASA that shows the differences from burned and unburned vegetation.

Burn scars can be seen on satellite imagery from NASA that shows the differences from burned and unburned vegetation.
(NASA)

After the lightning storms sparked the blazes, more than 1 million acres have burned and seven deaths statewide have been attributed to the blazes.

The LNU Lightning Complex near Santa Rosa and the SCU Lightning Complex near San Jose have grown to become the second and third largest fires by acreage in state history.

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Nearly 2,800 firefighters are battling the blazes in the northern part of the state. They will face a return of hot, dry weather, which could make conditions worse after containment increased.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a fire weather watch for exposed slopes and ridges in interior Del Norte County and the far northeastern end of Humboldt County starting at 5 p.m. Sunday and through 11 a.m. Monday.

“Fuel conditions are near or exceeding critical thresholds over much of our area,” the weather service said in a statement.

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Wildfire smoke is also forecast to continue impacting air quality in the northern part of the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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