Wildfires cast eerie orange shade over Bay Area skies

Bay Area residents woke up Wednesday morning to an uncanny sight—a glaring, but dark, orange sky with strokes of yellow. 

To some, it seemed like an apocalypse and many wondered, "what happens next?" 

California has faced an unprecedented wildfire season and continues to battle a series of fires. The Creek Fire has been burning out of control in Central California since Friday and the Bear Fire in Butte County, further north of the Bay Area, is quickly advancing. All the while, Bay Area tend to the LNU, CZU, and SCU fires. 

Dramatic photos: California residents wake up to raining ash and smoke-filled skies

The series of wildfires sent massive plumes of smoke over the Bay Area region and brought with it dangerous levels of air quality. 


View of San Francisco’s Financial District (Ashley Ornelas)

However, KTVU meteorologist Steve Paulson said air quality around the Bay has seen slight improvements, even with the orangish sky. 

Paulson said the marine layer is higher, keeping the smoke out but also blocking some sunlight.


View from Alameda. Photo courtesy: Manuel Romero

The Bay Area Air Quality District said the orange skies are a result of smoke in the air.

"Strong winds over the past few days transported ash from fires in northern California and the Sierra Nevada into the region," the Bay Area Air Quality District said. "These smoke particles scatter blue light & only allow yellow-orange-red light to reach the surface, causing skies to look orange. If smoke becomes too thick in a certain area, most of the light will be scattered & absorbed before reaching the surface, which may cause dark skies."

Roger Gass with National Weather Service Bay Area, said there have been also been reports of ash falling from the sky, but it's hard to call if that indicates whether the air quality is necessarily bad or good. He said while ash has its dangers, the smaller particles that are naked to the eye are more toxic. 


View from Berkeley. By Melissa Seka-Wilson.


Photo shows California Street in San Francisco. Taken around 11 a.m. by Shannon Ellenburg.


View from San Bruno. Photo courtesy of Salina Welsh.


Viewer photo from Richmond.


View from Fell and Masonic streets in San Francisco. Taken by around 10 a.m. by Teresa Martinez.


Smoky skies in Pleasanton Wednesday morning, September 9, 2020. This was taken by Sandhya Pangal around 11:30 a.m.


Photo from Sausalito by Pam Wycliffe.


View from Alameda looking toward Downtown Oakland. Photo courtesy of Alaina Ross.


Photo from San Pablo. Taken around 11 a.m. by Leslie Portillo.

Screen Shot 2020-09-09 at 11.22.19 AM

Orange sky in Pacifica by Lukas Gilstrap


View from Alameda. Photo courtesy: Manuel Romero


Brisbane, California. Photo courtesy: Dylan Garrett


View from San Francisco's Marina. Photo Courtesy: Benjamin Sykes


Photo from Glen Cove area of Vallejo, California. Taken around 9:30 a.m. on September 9, 2020 by Alicia Brewer.


View from Potrero Hill. Photo courtesy of Robert Miller.


View from San Francisco's Marina. Photo Courtesy: Benjamin Sykes