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Canada gets help from Colorado in fire fight

Posted at 9:16 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 00:54:57-04

The chaos on the ground in Canada is being captured from high in the sky.

Westminster-based DigitalGlobe is using its network of satellites to take pictures of the devastation to help the firefighters on the ground -- those images can't be captured by a chopper.

"The Alberta provincial government is using them to look at the scope of the fire and also look at active burning areas on the ground," said Chris Orndorff, an employee at DigitalGlobe.

The snapshots are so sharp you can see the individual fire points. If you look closer, you can see the proximity of the flames to homes, schools and businesses.  Portraits that can help firefighters make life- and property-saving decisions.

"[It helps us decide] Where to drop water or where to send people on the ground or where not to send people, because of an active fire or an area that is maybe burnt and now safe to move into," said Orndorff.

The imagery can be haunting.

Pictures reveal what Fort McMurray looked like before and after the fire.

PHOTOS: See before-and-after images of Fort McMurray from DigitalGlobe's cameras

Pictures from space, emphasizing the tragedy on the earth.

"You're actually able to see the environmental impact and the human impact it's having in such crisp detail on the ground itself," said Orndorff.

DigitalGlobe takes pictures daily.  It will do so until the need subsides.

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