The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has had an especially busy year, responding to 4,974 fires through Saturday — “over 1,000 more than normal,” according to a Cal Fire spokesman. But only one conflagration in the state this year has been larger than the King fire, which has spread across so many acres in drought-dried Northern California that it’s now larger than several major American cities, including Atlanta, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Portland.
The wildfire, which began east of Sacramento on Sept. 13, continues to burn through steep, timber-filled terrain. As of Tuesday morning, the King fire covered 89,574 acres and was 35 percent contained, Cal Fire said.
But fire crews, who made “great progress” overnight, were bracing for unfavorable conditions again on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported, including “strong, erratic winds similar to when the blaze doubled in size a week ago.”
“This could set up some potential fire growth similar to what we experienced when it grew exponentially last week,” state fire spokesman Capt. Tom Piranio said, according to AP. A red flag warning has been issued for Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday evening, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The King fire has produced enormous flames and prodigious amounts of smoke, both of which have been visible from the skies above Northern California and beyond. Here are some images, from this week and last, that show what the fire looks like from above.
— Jordan Katz (@jordanhkatz) September 18, 2014
— CA Forestry Assn (@CalForests) September 23, 2014
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) September 16, 2014
— Angie Myers (@AngieMyers) September 18, 2014
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) September 18, 2014
— NASA Earth (@NASA_EO) September 22, 2014