Last month, a drought, heat wave, and dry Santa Ana winds combined together to exacerbate fires in southern California. Here's a pair of satellite images of the San Diego region in May, separated by just eight days and far too much fire.

Illustration for article titled Before and After the Southern California Fires
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Southern California on May 9 and May 17, 2014. Image credit: NASA

Up to eight fires were burning at the same time near San Diego, resulting in more than 175,000 evacuation orders. The unique geography of southern California requires different firefighting techniques than the rest of the country, informed by dedicated research into understanding how fire spreads in the arid region.

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