A few days and the tireless efforts of thousands of firefighters have made a significant difference for Southern Californians. Images from NASA satellites show sharp contrasts in the amount of smoke billowing from the Thomas fire, one of the largest wildfires on record in California.
These images show the progression of the Thomas fire.
An image provided by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik shows the Southern California fires and the Thomas fire's towering smoke plume on Dec. 5, 2017.
This image captured by NASA's Aqua satellite shows the Thomas fire smoke plume and other smaller fires on Dec. 5, 2017, just hours after the wildfires started in Ventura County. The fire went on to burn about 60,000 acres on Dec. 5.
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, aboard the International Space Station, provided this photo of the Southern California wildfires on Dec. 6, 2017.
The Thomas fire grew to 96,000 by the time this image was taken on Dec. 7, 2017 by NASA's Aqua satellite. About 150 structures had burned as Santa Ana winds whipped the fire into and inferno moving at the rate of the length of a football field every second. Containment on Dec. 7 was at 5 percent.
Large swaths of Southern California are covered by smoke in this photo provided by NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik during a space station flyover on Dec. 8.
The smoke appears to be turning a gray-brown in this image of the Thomas fire captured Dec. 12, 2017. The fire was at 237,500 acres and still being pushed by dangerous winds in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
The Thomas fire continued to cast smoke across a widespread part of Southern California. The fire was at 242,500 acres and 30-percent contained when this image was taken Dec. 13, 2017.
This image from NASA's Aqua satellite shows brown smoke billowing from the Thomas fire on Dec. 14, 2017. The fire was at about 252,000 acres at this point, 10 days after it began in Ventura County.
Terra satellite imagery shows the Thomas fire on Dec. 16, 2017. You can see several hot spots marked in red and a significant amount of smoke as winds continued to fan the blaze.
Taken a day later, this Aqua satellite image shows a marked different in the amount of smoke coming from the Thomas fire. Hot spots are still visible in this image from Dec. 17, 2017.
This image from NASA's Aqua satellite shows a major difference in the amount of smoke coming from the Thomas fire. For a two-day span than began Dec. 19, calm winds allowed firefighters to gain ground on the fire, which was at 272,000 acres and 60-percent contained at this point. Hot spots were no longer appearing in the imagery -- a welcomed sight for Southern California after more than two weeks of devastation.