Special Weather Statement

California wildfires rage in astronaut photos from the Space Station

By Mike Wall
August 07, 2018, 10:23:32 PM EDT

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European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this view of the California wildfires, as seen from the International Space Station (ISS), on Twitter on Aug. 3, 2018.Credit: Alexander Gerst/ESA

The wildfires raging across California are a sight to behold from 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have taken dramatic new photos of the dangerous and destructive blazes, which are blackening huge swaths of the Golden State and throwing off smoke that billows far to the east.

"California burning. These fires are frightening to watch, even from space," European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst wrote via Twitter Friday (Aug. 3), where he posted images of several big fires and their even larger smoke plumes. "Here's a shout-out from space to all firefighters on this planet, my former colleagues. Stay safe, my friends!"

A geophysicist and volcanologist, Gerst also worked as a volunteer firefighter while in school, according to his ESA biography.

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Another view of the California blazes captured by Alexander Gerst.Credit: Alexander Gerst/ESA

NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold — a crewmember on the ISS' current Expedition 56 along with Gerst and four other spaceflyers — posted some fire photos of his own via Twitter today (Aug. 6).

"Plumes of billowing smoke from the #CaliforniaWildfires stretch eastwards [toward] the Rocky Mountains," Arnold tweeted.

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