Bay Area smoke: Video shows orange sky blanketing SF, Peninsula

ByLyanne Melendez KGO logo
Thursday, September 10, 2020
San Francisco, Peninsula illuminated with smoky glow due to wildfires
Here's a look at San Francisco and the Peninsula, which was bathed in a smoky glow on Wednesday due to wildfires burning nearby.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area woke up to one of the strangest sights ever remembered. Darkness mixed with an orange sky has lingered throughout the day caused by fog and heavy smoke from those wildfires.

Some of you may have wondered if this was "the day the earth stood still."

VIDEOS: Apocalyptic orange skies seen across Bay Area from wildfire smoke

"We woke up around 7 in the morning, opened the curtains and it seemed to be night time. It was pretty scary," expressed Daniela Hernandez who, was visiting from North Carolina.

Alcatraz from Fisherman's Wharf looked like something out of mystical novel. Tourists were compelled to record some of San Francisco's iconic sights when day turned to night.

Even the mayor felt it was necessary to reach out to San Franciscans on social media explaining how the combination of fog and smoke from wildfires was creating the orange sky.

Then came a public service announcement.

VIDEO: SF mayor reaches out to residents about air quality, orange skies

Even the mayor of San Francisco felt it was necessary to reach out to residents on social media, explaining how the combination of fog and smoke from wildfires was creating the orange sky.

"It hasn't really impacted our air quality yet because of our marine layer and because the smoke is so high," explained Breed.

Construction workers used lights Wednsday morning to work in the dark.

In any given afternoon, John's Grill in San Francisco is packed with customers having lunch, but the darkness kept them away.

MORE: Bay Area wakes up to ominous orange skies 'unlike anything' residents have experienced before

"I have never seen anything like this in my entire life. It's quite frightening. I hope everyone is safe. I hope everyone keeps safe," said John Konstin, Jr.

Wednesday's anomaly served as a reminder of what's going on in parts of the state.

"I feel bad for the people who are right in the heart of it right now because this looks terrible but imagine if you're right there," added Evan Brenner of San Francisco

RELATED: Here's why the sky looks so orange, even though Bay Area air quality isn't terrible

The smoke over the region is coming from the Bear Fire, one of the wildfires burning in Butte County that makes up the Northern Complex. The Bear Fire exploded in size overnight to 58,000 acres, prompting evacuations and spewing out smoke over the Bay Area.

But a thick marine layer kept air quality in much of the Bay Area relatively good, despite the ominous sky color.

"The marine layer is a stable area of air that does not rise, and so we're continually pumping in cleaner air from over the ocean," explains ABC7 News Meteorologist Mike Nicco.

That's why the sky is so dark, with a yellow or orange hue, but you may not smell smoke when you step outside. Read more here.

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  • Why does smoke turn the sky orange? Meteorologist explains science behind it
  • Here's what you need to know about the Bear Fire, prompting evacuations and spewing smoke into the Bay Area
  • Orange San Francisco sky looks even wilder in drone video
  • Dramatic photos capture orange, hazy skies seen all across San Francisco Bay Area
  • Tips for protecting your eyes from wildfire smoke, bad air quality
  • USFS closes all 18 national forests in California amid 'unprecedented and historic fire conditions'
  • Evacuees describe racing for safety as Bear Fire explodes in size in Butte County