California fires: Pictures show San Francisco ‘looking like Mars’ in ‘apocalyptic scene’

The US state of California continues to see record breaking wildfires which are still spreading across the Golden State. NASA satellite images have shown that 1.5 million acres, which is roughly 2,343 square miles, have been hit by this season’s wildfires.

But images from the ground show the sheer devastation of the wildfires.

Residents of San Francisco have taken image which show what the city might look like if it were on Mars.

The skies are filled with orange and red, with the thick haze blocking out the Sun’s light.

San Francisco resident Mila Zinkova who snapped one image of San Francisco’s Martian like state.

She said: “The atmosphere was eerie and apocalyptic.

“The sky was orange, and it was so dark that streetlights were on in the middle of the day. It felt as if the whole of San Francisco had moved to Mars.”

Another resident, Scott Boyd, told Space Weather: “I woke up this morning to a Mars-like orange sky that persisted throughout the day.

“High smoke coupled with a dense fog layer combined to make a featureless orange that blanketed the City by the Bay.”

Skies turn orange and red during large fires as the thick smoke blocks out short colour wavelengths such as yellow, blue and green, while longer wavelength colours, such as red and orange, can still make it through.

According to NASA, the wildfires this year have been astonishingly vast, with 20 major fires and fire complexes actively burning across California in early September.

Data from the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite have shown the LNU Complex had burned 375,209 acres (586 square miles) by September 2, making it the third-largest wildfire by acreage in state history.

Vince Ambrosia, a senior research scientist at California State University-Monterey Bay, working at NASA’s Ames Research Center, said: “All these events were lightning-caused and burning in remote Mediterranean-ecosystem shrub and forested regions.

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“The August Complex continues to spread aggressively, while the fire complexes further south have slowed their advancement.

“The fire management community utilises data like this, as well as other thermal-infrared sensor data on satellites and airborne platforms, to quickly identify fire hot spots for indicating where fires are burning.

“This allows fire managers to quickly mobilise firefighting resources and personnel, and aids with post-fire burn severity mapping to allow rapid rehabilitation and recovery operations to occur on the most critical ecosystem-affected areas.”

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