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Colorado Wildfire Scar Spotted from Space

Waldo canyon fire burn scar snapped by a satellite.
A satellite spied the burned-out scar left by Colorado's Waldo Canyon fire on July 4. (Image credit: NASA.)

Colorado's devastating Waldo Canyon Fire has left a massive scar on the Earth that is visible from space.

A false-color image snapped by a satellite yesterday (July 4) shows the blackened scar covering the mountainous terrain west of Colorado Springs, where the fire continues to burn.

The Waldo Canyon fire was first reported on June 23. So far, it has burned 18,247 acres and destroyed 346 homes, making it the most destructive fire in Colorado's history.

In the satellite image of the fire, forest and vegetation that was spared appears bright red; brown marks the burned areas. The darker the brown, the more severe the burn.

The fire is 90 percent contained, and officials say they expect it to be fully contained by tomorrow (July 6). However, the mountainous terrain poses extreme difficulties for the 776 people battling the flames, and officials say there is still a high potential for the wildfire to grow.

It's unclear what sparked the destructive blaze, and its cause is under investigation.

Although the Waldo Canyon Fire has proved the most destructive, several far larger fires are also burning in the western United States, and atmospheric models indicate that winds have carried smoke from the multiple blazes out over the Atlantic Ocean and as far east as Greenland.

The largest active blazes are in southeastern Montana, where wildfires sparked by lightning strikes have burned 300,432 acres so far.

In all, more than 70 wildfires are burning around the United States, from Alaska to Florida to Utah.

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Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.