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Australia wildfires from space: Satellite photos show scope of infernos

Click to play video 'Powerful images tell the story of Australia’s wildfire devastation and those living with it' Powerful images tell the story of Australia’s wildfire devastation and those living with it
WATCH ABOVE: Powerful images tell the story of Australia's wildfire devastation and those living with it – Jan 6, 2020

New photos of Australia from space show the scope and intensity of deadly wildfires raging across much of the country.

NASA Earth Observatory released two images, taken six months apart, of southeastern Australia, where some of the most severe fires are burning.

Click to play video 'Bushfires in Australia: What ignited the deadly crisis' Bushfires in Australia: What ignited the deadly crisis
Bushfires in Australia: What ignited the deadly crisis – Jan 3, 2020

The first photo was taken on July 24, 2019 and the second on Jan. 1, 2020.

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READ MORE: Australia is on fire, but what’s igniting the blaze?

In the first, the ocean and lush, green land are clearly visible. In the second, a blanket of grey smoke covers the same area entirely.

Images taken on Jan. 3 and 4 from the International Space Station, orbiting 433 kilometres above the Tasman Sea, show wildfires surrounding Sydney, Australia.

While the worst of the fires are concentrated in the south, flames have licked the suburban fringes of Sydney in recent days, bringing fears they will spread further.

This image was taken from the International Space Station on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 above the Tasman Sea.
This image was taken from the International Space Station on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 above the Tasman Sea. (NASA via AP)
This satellite image provided by NASA on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 shows wildfires in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia.
This satellite image provided by NASA on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 shows wildfires in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia. (NASA via AP)

The wildfires, which have been raging since September, have so far burned through eight million hectares of land across the country.

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New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have been the hardest hit.

Click to play video 'The ecological impact of the Australian wildfires' The ecological impact of the Australian wildfires
The ecological impact of the Australian wildfires – Jan 6, 2020

More than 135 fires were burning across New South Wales as of Monday, including nearly 70 that were considered not contained.

READ MORE: Here’s where Australia’s wildfires are currently burning

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Twenty-four people and countless animals have died, and nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed.

Images from a Maxar Technologies satellite in orbit show red flames visible from space as wildfires burn in a town east of Victoria called Orbost.

A natural colour satellite image shows smoke from wildfires burning east of Orbost, Victoria, Australia on Jan. 4, 2020.
A natural colour satellite image shows smoke from wildfires burning east of Orbost, Victoria, Australia on Jan. 4, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS.
A satellite image shows wildfires burning east of Orbost, Victoria, Australia on Jan. 4, 2020.
A satellite image shows wildfires burning east of Orbost, Victoria, Australia on Jan. 4, 2020. Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS.

Although bushfires are common in Australia, this season has been dire. Hot, dry weather and prolonged drought have exacerbated fire conditions.

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While some rain brought some relief to affected communities Monday, it also created challenges for firefighters trying to execute strategic burns to help bring the fires under control.

READ MORE: Canada prepared to provide further assistance to Australia if needed, says minister

Politicians urged citizens to stay vigilant, as the dousing of rain will be far from enough to snuff out the fires.

Click to play video 'Bushfires cause red skies and black ash on New South Wales beach' Bushfires cause red skies and black ash on New South Wales beach
Bushfires cause red skies and black ash on New South Wales beach – Jan 6, 2020

“We are by no means out of this,” said Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews. “And the next few days, and indeed the next few months, are going to be challenging.”

— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters