Smoke from CA wildfires brings ominous, orange skies to Bay Area amid 'critical' fire conditions

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Smoke from California wildfires creating ominous skies in Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area woke up to a murky sky as the region faces critical fire conditions.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Bay Area woke up to a murky sky Wednesday as the region faces critical fire conditions.

ABC7 News Meteorologist Mike Nicco says gusty, dry winds are blowing smoke from California wildfires into the region.

Nicco is tracking the fire danger and unhealthy air.

WATCH LIVE: Track real-time temps, air quality in Bay Area

"What a whiplash from yesterday's beautiful blue sky," said Nicco. "If you haven't been outside, the sky is very murky, gray to brown -- thanks to northeasterly winds that are bringing in the smoke."

A Red Flag Warning in effect for higher elevations expires at 3 p.m. Wednesday, except in Solano, Lake and Mendocino counties. The Red Flag Warning goes until 8 p.m. in those counties.

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Nicco says up to 55 miles per hour winds, coming out of the northeast, are bringing dry air.

"Fires can start easily and spread rather rapidly," explained Nicco.

"The winds will be fastest in the North Bay around noon Wednesday and then they spread throughout the Bay Area as we head into the afternoon hours," added Nicco. "We will get a break, expect for the North Bay, during the evening and overnight hours -- but we reload at 5 a.m. Thursday."

An Air Quality Advisory is in effect Wednesday.

"I think there are going to be plenty of areas in our lower elevations, mountains and hills that are going to have unhealthy air Wednesday and Thursday," added Nicco.

The smoky air is expected to drift away from the Bay Area by Friday, except in the North Bay. We will have to wait until the weekend for the air to clear there, according Nicco.