This massive plume of gray-white smoke from the wildfires raging through Southern California's transverse mountain ranges is being pushed over the Pacific Ocean by the notorious Santa Ana winds. A weather satellite operated by NOAA captured this image late Thursday—you can see five of the narrow Channel Islands between Santa Barbara and San Diego County beneath the thick smoke.

More than a thousand firefighters are battling the blaze from the Point Mugu naval-air base in Ventura County to the luxury homes of celebrities and industrialists in Malibu. Thousands have been evacuated from schools, homes and campgrounds as 30mph winds push the fire up steep canyons filled with dry brush.

Another major wildfire is still burning in the San Bernardino Mountains near Banning, an hour east of Los Angeles, but the blaze moving up the canyons and coastline of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is producing the smoke plume seen over the ocean.

[Photo via NOAA.]