Dramatic images of the fire burning near Ventura

Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes Tuesday, December 5, 2017, and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. The
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Raked by ferocious Santa Ana winds, explosive wildfires northwest of Los Angeles and in the city's foothills burned a psychiatric hospital and scores of homes Tuesday, December 5, 2017, and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. The
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Fires

Huge plume of smoke from Southern California fires spreads over Pacific Ocean

By Kalin Kipling

kkipling@sacbee.com

December 06, 2017 11:30 AM

A trio of NASA satellite images show the severity of the fire situation in Southern California.

Santa Ana winds have fueled the wildfires. The winds are described by the National Weather Service as “a weather condition in which strong, hot, dust-bearing winds descend to the Pacific Coast around Los Angeles from inland desert regions.“

#SantaAnaWinds will continue to elevate fire danger in Southern CA with expectant winds reaching 80 mph on Thursday. Any new fires will have extreme levels of fire growth potential. Prepare now & be ready to GO! Learn more about evacuation preparedness: https://t.co/hHTBtHlGh9 pic.twitter.com/Tm0X2Tui6r

— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) December 6, 2017

On Tuesday and Wednesday, NASA shared satellite images showing the fires’ destruction, hot spots and the amount of smoke.

“On the satellite, I can visually see smoke stretching west for more than 500 miles into the ocean,” Brian Kittell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, told SFGate. “The winds are blowing from the northeast to the southwest. It’s all heading out toward the ocean.”

The huge plume of smoke from the Thomas Fire in Ventura County spreads over the ocean, along with two smaller plumes from the Rye and Creek fires.
Joshua Stevens NASA Earth Observatory

Hot spots are shown in the following image, along with smoke and clouds:

Hot spots are shown in red in this satellite image.
Jeff Schmaltz NASA

The wide burn scar along with active areas from the Ventura County fire are shown in another image:

A “false-color image” of the Ventura-area fires’ burn scar.
Joshua Stevens NASA Earth Observatory

The biggest blaze, the Thomas Fire, erupted in Ventura County on Monday and it has since burned more than 65,000 acres and is at zero percent containment, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The Creek Fire in Los Angeles County has burned 11,377 acres; Los Angeles County’s Rye Fire has burned 7,000 acres; and the Skirball Fire in Los Angeles near the Getty Center is at 150 acres, according to Cal Fire and the Los Angeles Fire Department.

About 27,000 people have been evacuated and hundreds of homes have been destroyed, but those numbers are likely to grow, according to Newsweek.

The National Weather Service expects winds to pick up again Thursday, and that paired with dry weather could make fighting the fires even more difficult, according to Newsweek.