Several big San Francisco attractions closed due to bad air from Camp Fire

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Friday, November 16, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

This time of year, 3,500 tourists board boats to visit Alcatraz, but because of the smoke all trips were canceled.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is known for its iconic landmarks. But Thursday night, many of them were barely visible because of the thick smoke from the Camp Fire. And now, some of the big attractions have been closed because of the worsening air quality.

This time of year, 3,500 tourists board boats to visit Alcatraz.

Thursday evening, tourists were lined up-- not to buy tickets, but for refunds. All the night trips were canceled, as well as all 11 daily trips scheduled for Friday.

RELATED: California Wildfires: Check current Bay Area air quality levels

"I was excited. I was like, 'Oh, I finally get to go explore Alcatraz!' And then this. Yeah, (It's a) bummer," says Jose Mendoza, visiting from Southern California.

The tours will likely be closed through Saturday, says Antonette Sespene, Director of Marketing for Alcatraz Cruise.

"It's not ideal. People come from all over the world. We don't want to cancel our tours, but again, we want to make sure it's a little bit safer for both our crew and our visitors alike," she explains.

Alcatraz isn't the only big attraction closed because of the poor air quality.

A group of tourists waited in line for the cable cars near Nordstrom's in downtown San Francisco, which they didn't know, stopped running. As air quality throughout San Francisco reached dangerously high levels, MTC made the decision to pull them off the streets late Thursday afternoon.

It's also lights out at the Union Square ice rink, which will be closed until further notice.

And it's not just the big tourist attractions. Two Norwegian tourists, who were biking around San Francisco, had to cancel lunch.

RELATED: California Wildfires: Why the smoke is sitting over the Bay Area

"The Warming House café, close to the Golden Gate Bridge, where we were supposed to have our lunch, and it was closed. Because of the weather. Because of the air quality," explains Lisbeth Waerp.

Still, most of the tourists visiting say, though the bad air may be an inconvenience, it's nothing compared the suffering of those impacted by the wildfires.

Meanwhile, several museums will be open Friday and are offering discounted tickets for people who want to get out of the bad air.

See more stories, photos and videos on the Camp Fire in Butte County.