If you live outside southern California, and you want an idea of why the wildfires there are such news, take a look from above. This image, shot by NASA's Aqua satellite, shows a plume of smoke that extends diagonally northeast from the center of the frame, beyond the Nevada border. NASA's Earth Observatory site, which provided the image, helped it with the red outlines of the fire zones themselves, but the smoke is not enhanced. Click on the image, or HERE, to enlarge. I showed this picture, and others, to a couple of editors around here, and they said that from space the smoke looks like clouds. It apparently doesn't from the ground.