Moderate weather aids California firefighting efforts, space photos of Thomas Fire

Milder weather on Friday allowed California firefighters to gain some ground against their efforts to put out parts of six major conflagrations centered around Ventura, San Diego and Los Angeles.

So far, 500 structures have been destroyed and at least one person reported dead. Weather forecasts remain unfavorable to firefighting efforts.

President Trump on Friday declared the California fires a federal emergency, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to aid local firefighting, law enforcement and rescue teams.

The largest of the wildfires, known as Thomas Fire, has now covered over 143,000 acres. The National Weather Service said the conflagration was visible from space, and astronauts have even been able to capture images of the smoke emanating from the fires.

This Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 false-color image from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite via NASA, shows a brown burn scar from the Thomas fire north of the city of Ventura, Calif., at bottom center. The flames stand out starkly as smoke billows toward the Pacific Ocean. Untouched areas of vegetation appear in bright shades of green. (European Space Agency/NASA via AP)

The fires have razed or put at risk at least 86,000 homes. Risk analysis firm CoreLogic says the reconstruction bill could be as high as $27.7 billion.

The fires in California wine country barely two months ago cost a total of $9 billion in insured losses, but at least 43 lives were lost in that disaster.

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