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PHOTO: NASA’s view of Texas wildfires from space

This week, the wind-swept terrain of Texas  was engulfed in as many as 176 fires covering 126,844 acres. As the Texas Forest Service reports, as of September 8th “the total number of homes destroyed on that fire is now confirmed at 1,386. Approximately 240 additional homes have been reported lost on other fires since Sunday, for a total of approximately 1,626.” Bastrop County has received the brunt of the burns with around 34,000 acres under fire.

As Texas burns, experts are left considering the influence of climate change on this catastrophic natural disaster. (Not including Texas Governor Rick Perry.) Texas has seen its driest consecutive months “since record-keeping began in 1895.” Parts of the state have not seen measurable rain in over a year while the National Weather Service warns the conditions may continue into 2012.

Pictured here are wildfires burning through eastern Texas on September 5, 2011. As NASA writes, “The Bear Creek Fire north of Marshall, near the top center of the image, is the largest fire in the image. When this image was acquired, the fire had charred 30,000 acres and was 0 percent contained. To the west is the Diana Fire, just north of Longview, and the Henderson-502 Fire, northwest of Nacogdoches.”

This image was taken by NASA's MISR instrument on its Terra spacecraft.

Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL, MISR Team