California fire pictures: Mendocino Complex fire veiled in SMOKE — images from space — Информационное Агентство "365 дней"

California fire pictures: Mendocino Complex fire veiled in SMOKE — images from space

The Mendocino Complex fire is a devastating combination of the Ranch and River fires currently ravishing the south west of California.

Currently, the largest fire in California history has torched a total 354,410 acres (553 square miles) of the Californian landscape.

Firefighter Matthew Burchett, the 42-year-old battalion chief of Draper City Fire Department, has been killed in the blaze.

This year’s lethal wildfire season has been one of the worst since 2008 and conditions are likely to get worse as years progress.

The latest images of the Mendocino complex fire have shown how the blaze appears from space.

From NASA, the photos show how smoke from the fires has taken over the Ukiah area, shrouding forests in a thick grey smog.

The most intense areas of the fire can be identified as two funnels swirling in the middle of the map.

Blackened and brown parts identify where the fire has already ravaged, leaving a trail in the Clearlake and Ukiah areas.

California Mendocino complex fire latest update

A total of 146 residences have been destroyed and another 118 buildings have been levelled in the process.

As the fire encroaches on further properties, another 13 residences and 23 buildings are under threat, having already sustained damage.

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Full containment of the fire is not expected until September 1, over two weeks away.

A key feature holding crews back is the California landscape, as the rocky terrain makes it difficult for firefighters to advance.

Mendocino fire NASA images

Why is the Mendocino fire so dangerous?

The Mendocino Fire’s main risk comes from the weather that created it, as stiflingly hot and dry conditions have taken the US in its grips.

California in particular is at the mercy of the heat, as wildfire season each year marks a time of increased risk for the state.

Firefighters have particular difficulty this year as the blazes created by the dry heat have been able to create their own weather.

Wildfires have the ability to strip the land of water and create its own weather, making the fire itself much more unpredictable.

California wildfire latest update Pyrocumulus

Should a fire reach severe temperatures, the moisture preserved in plants in the area is evaporated into the sky.

Coupled with the sun causing heat from the baked ground to rise up, a pyrocumulus cloud may develop.

These are clouds which have formed as a result of the rising heat and evaporating water, and can trigger their own winds and rain.

Strong winds can push the fires in new directions, and lightning created by the humidity can strike the ground and spark more fires.

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