SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — There are currently a total of 28 active fires in California helping to fill San Francisco Bay Area skies with unhealthy levels of smoke and forcing local residents to remain indoors.
But after months of being confined by COVID, many people are now wondering just how far they have to drive or fly to escape the misery and dangers from wildfire smoke.
No matter where you looked Saturday, the Bay Area was smothered in smoke.
It has drifted to the east into Reno and beyond. Officials there are also telling people to expect very unhealthy air quality through the weekend.
“I’m always the person who’s like let me go on Priceline and book a flight. So there wasn’t much behind it besides me wanting to leave and just curious what it looks like other places,” said Maria de Vera of Pinole.
De Vera grew up in the Bay Area and just returned to Oakland Airport from a quick getaway to Los Angeles, where she says it looked similarly smoky.
“I hope that we get it together, I don’t remember there ever being fires like this, I’m probably going to end up leaving California because this is wild,” she added.
Gov. Gavin Newsom surveyed the catastrophic damage on Friday.
“This is a climate emergency. This is real. And it’s happening, this is the perfect storm,” he said.
Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco’s poor air quality is forcing many to stay inside this weekend.
“Little disappointing, but not too bad, and I just made the best of it,” said Konni Powell of Spokane, Washington.
Powell and her husband just got married, and celebrated their honeymoon in the smoke-filled Bay Area.
“We can’t see too far, that’s one thing, and it kept us in our room, cause we didn’t want to be out there in it, cause there’s nothing to see like that,” said Jacob Powell.
The air quality appears to significantly improve east and southeast of Nevada, particularly in Colorado and northern parts of Arizona.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said the fires are a consequence of global warming. President Donald Trump will visit California for a briefing on the West Coast fires on Monday.