NASA satellite images from Nov. 3 show that California’s Kincade Fire has damaged 77,768 acres of land and destroyed 374 structures.
The fire has been acknowledged as the largest wildfire in California in 2019 and the largest ever fire for Sonoma County.
The cause of the fire, which raged for two weeks, remains unknown, although Earther reports that officials suspect a downed power line belonging to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company may be responsible.
The satellite images depicting the damage were made possible by NASA’s Terra satellite, which is equipped with an instrument called the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) that allows it to detect heat on Earth’s surface.
The images show dark gray splotches where the fire destroyed land and small yellow splotches, which show where the fire was still raging on the day the image was captured.
The satellite shows that the bulk of the fire’s damage narrowly missed the town of Healdsburg, home to approximately 11,840 people.
Wildfires are becoming more prevalent in places like California as global temperatures warm, and many vulnerable states are struggling to optimize their disaster prevention and response strategies.
Read more IER reporting about California wildfires here.