ENVIRONMENT
10/12/2017 02:57 pm ET Updated Oct 12, 2017

Horror Of California Wildfires Captured In Satellite And Aerial Photos

“We are at the worst conditions you could have right now.”

Wildfires have wrought almost unimaginable destruction this week across Northern California, where more than 8,000 firefighters are currently battling 21 blazes that have so far devastated 191,437 acres, killed at least 23 people and consumed around 3,500 buildings.

Strong winds on Wednesday night and Thursday morning have made a bad situation even worse, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum told HuffPost. Many of the fires are less than 5 percent contained.

“I’ve been in the fire service for over 30 years, and I’m horrified at what I’ve seen,” Cal Fire public information officer Jerry Fernandez, who grew up in the Sonoma area, told HuffPost Wednesday. “We are at the worst conditions you could have right now.”

Satellite image provider DigitalGlobe captured pictures of the affected area on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, sometimes using an infrared sensor to peer through the otherwise visually impenetrable smoke. The infrared satellite images below show the remaining healthy vegetation as red among the burned areas. 

  • A natural-color satellite image of the burned Fountaingrove Golf Club in Santa Rosa, a city in Sonoma Cou
    DigitalGlobe
    A natural-color satellite image of the burned Fountaingrove Golf Club in Santa Rosa, a city in Sonoma County.
  • An infrared satellite image shows the burned-out Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa.
    DigitalGlobe
    An infrared satellite image shows the burned-out Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa.
  • The red areas in this infrared satellite image represent living vegetation among burned-out homes in Santa Rosa.
    DigitalGlobe
    The red areas in this infrared satellite image represent living vegetation among burned-out homes in Santa Rosa.
  • The fire line of the Santa Rosa wildfire can be seen in this infrared satellite image.
    DigitalGlobe
    The fire line of the Santa Rosa wildfire can be seen in this infrared satellite image.
  • Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa on Oct. 11, 2017.
    ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images
    Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa on Oct. 11, 2017.
  • More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday.
    ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images
    More than 200 fire engines and firefighting crews from around the country were being rushed to California on Wednesday.
  • Aerial views of the Kmart store destroyed by fire along the 101 freeway in Santa Rosa.
    Marcus Yam/Getty Images
    Aerial views of the Kmart store destroyed by fire along the 101 freeway in Santa Rosa.
  • Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood. 
    ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images
    Fire damage is seen from the air in the Coffey Park neighborhood. 
  • Marcus Yam/Getty Images
  • ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images
  • Surrounding neighborhoods appear untouched by fire outside the Coffey Park neighborhood.
    Marcus Yam/Getty Images
    Surrounding neighborhoods appear untouched by fire outside the Coffey Park neighborhood.
  • Marcus Yam/Getty Images
  • Marcus Yam/Getty Images
  • An aerial view shows the Journey's End mobile home park in Santa Rosa.
    Marcus Yam/Getty Images
    An aerial view shows the Journey's End mobile home park in Santa Rosa.
CONVERSATIONS