SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Foggy, overcast skies were what most people were seeing Thursday morning, a day after looking out their windows to see views that resembled a post-apocalyptic landscape.
The orange skies above the Bay Area made national headlines Wednesday, but Thursday morning’s sky was more like being on Earth than on Mars. The changes, however, also mean the air quality has worsened.
“The difference today is that smoke is not just aloft up in the higher levels of the atmosphere but now settling down to the service this is a big concern because we are starting off our day with unhealthy air quality this morning,” said KPIX 5 weather anchor Mary Lee.
Dealing with unhealthy air quality and even very unhealthy air for parts of the North Bay & into San Francisco this morning. A Spare the Air Alert remains in effect today. Please be safe & limit outdoor exposure if you can. @KPIXtv #kpix #bayarea #cawx #bayareawx #BayAreaFires pic.twitter.com/dTTCr98XZ2
— Mary Lee (@MaryKPIX) September 10, 2020
The massive layer of smoke from the state’s wildfires draped over the San Francisco Bay Area, turning skies early Wednesday into an eerie dark orange haze and covering cars, yards and homes with layers of ash.
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) September 10, 2020
The smoke in the upper atmosphere scattered wavelengths of blue light, allowing only the warmer colors to reach the Earth’s surface. The effect was most pronounced in San Francisco, where bright red-colored photos of the city’s iconic landmarks, Lombard Street, Embarcadero, Coit Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, and Bay Bridge, flooded social media.
More than 2 million acres have burned so far in a series of wildfires in Northern California. Climate change experts at the University of California at Berkeley say fires and intense heat have always been a part of California’s identity but what’s alarming them the most is the rate at which these cases are occurring. They say they have seen this coming for a while.
— Larry Laks (@LaksLarry) September 10, 2020
“Unfortunately we can expect more of the same. That is absolutely clear because all the science is very consistent that these are the kinds of events that have been predicted for decades and all of the signs point to more of the same,” said David Ackerly, UC’s Dean of Rausser College.
Many people like Ryan Peralta tried to minimize their time outside Thursday. A normally busy Mission Bay park on Berry Street was nearly empty around lunch time.
“If I can see ash on cars, I’m not trying to be outside and breathing that air,” Peralta said.
Fitness SF is fully booked for the second day in a row. Yesterday was the first day it was permitted by the city to operate outdoors.
“The gym hasn’t been open for 5, 6 months and I was really excited when I saw that they were doing this outdoor tent,” said Abigail Monroe of San Francisco. “I reserved this time three days ago, I was like I’m so excited for it.”
Demand has been so strong Fitness SF was setting up more equipment Thursday afternoon.
“It’s kind of ironic that the city’s been saying that it’s unsafe to workout inside, and therefore telling us to workout outside. Now we’re outside and we have to contend with like you mentioned – unhealthy air, the heat,” said President of Fitness SF Zsolt Jackovics.
After making the decision to close for dinner at EPIC Steak and Waterbar yesterday, they are open tonight. Reservations are about two-thirds of what they normally do outdoors.
“We have to try to balance the needs of all the stakeholders,” said Managing Partner Pete Sittnick. “We do have reservations, and guests still do want to go out to eat. We have to take into account the safety and well-being of the employees, and so we really watch the situation on an hour by hour basis.”