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Space View shows explosive growth of massive California wildfires

It’s been another devastating year for western wildfires. The McKinney fire in northern California is now the largest of the year so far for the state. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GOES-West satellite caught a glimpse of the fire’s surprising growth over the weekend.

NOAA shared a time frame of the fire from Saturday seen by the Earth observation satellite. The agency said the fire showed “extreme behavior” and “explosive growth”.

The McKinney Fire is tearing through the Klamath National Forest, near California’s border with Oregon. On Monday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fire had consumed more than 55,000 acres and was 0% contained after the first outbreak on Friday. Thousands of residents were evacuated and two deaths were reported. Cal Fire has yet to announce a cause.

Research meteorologist Scott Bachmeier of the University of Wisconsin, Madison analyzed satellite imagery and spotted several pyrocumulonimbus clouds generated by fire. This type of cloud can form over hot fires and is sometimes called a fire cloud.

A study earlier this year found that the severity of fires in the United States has increased, with larger and more frequent fires. Human-caused climate change has fueled disasters, which have hit the drought-ravaged West particularly hard in recent years. The study came to the sobering conclusion that the worst is yet to come.


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