NASA shared pictures of the California wildfires from space — and the images are unreal

NASA Earth Observatory images of Ventura County, Calif., Joshua Stevens
Photo courtesy NASA

The California wildfires are ravaging hundreds of thousands of acres of land, destroying and threatening people's homes, closing schools and causing residents to evacuate, pushed onward by the Santa Ana winds.

The wildfires are so massive they are visible from space.

NASA satellites and astronauts have been sharing images of the wildfires from space and the magnitude is staggering. The NASA images help first responders determine where and when to act, according to a post from the space agency.

The image embedded above was taken on Dec. 5 by the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 satellite and in the picture, the orange shows the active fires and the brown is the land already burned.

The image embedded below was taken by the NASA's Terra satellite on Dec. 6 and the actively burning areas are outlined in red.

Actively burning areas are red in this image of the California wildfires
Photo courtesy NASA

NASA's Disasters Program team is "closely monitoring" the wildfires, providing data that shows up to hourly updates of where the fires are burning hottest.

With $27.7 billion worth of Southern California real estate at some level of risk from the wildfires and $5 billion worth at significant risk, being able to deploy resources to where they are most needed is critical.

This fall, in the wake of Hurricane Maria devastating Puerto Rico, NASA used its Black Marble HD technology, typically used for NASA to see lights on Earth at night, in the disaster response efforts to help identify where power was out. It was the first time NASA used its Black Marble technology in a disaster response effort.

Here are more images of the California wildfires from space.

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