The El Dorado fire which started on September 5 of this year has been labeled as one of the worst wildfires that California has ever seen.
When Californians woke up to start a new day they were ready for a sight that would not only confuse them but shake them to their cores as well. It was like the sky had switched on its sepia filter.
No, it wasn't the nature being goofy, the eerie orange glow in the sky was due to the ongoing California wildfires. According to BBC, the wildfire has emerged amid a historic heatwave which has pushed 14,000 firefighters to battle with 28 major blazes across California. Not only has it ended up in the destruction of more than 2.5 million acres in the state but has also resulted in the demise of at least 8 people this year.
On Wednesday, September 9, northern parts of the state experienced strong winds that blew smoke and ashes from the fires. The residents of San Francisco woke up to horrifying apocalyptic scenes of darkened skies. It disoriented a few as they thought it was still night.
Talking to San Francisco Chronicle, one of the residents, Catherine Geeslin said, "It feels like the end of the world." She continued, "It was alarming to see it's still dark. And it will be strange to have lunch in the dark. But you still have to get on with your day." Geeslin resides in the West Portal area.
Kelly Groth of San Francisco told NBC News, “This morning I woke up at 7 a.m. and thought my alarm was wrong because it was so dark. I didn’t smell smoke but had a feeling the fires were affecting the atmosphere. I pulled back my curtains to see the sky was dark orange, and it felt so apocalyptic. I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life and never seen anything like it.”
Another resident of San Francisco, Veronica Belmont, wrote on Twitter, “I have never seen the sky in SF look like this in the nearly 20 years I’ve lived here. Looks like a scene from Mars.”
INCREDIBLE photos show an orange glow in the sky in San Francisco as wildfires continue to devastate California. Could you imagine flying and looking out the window to see this? Wow. pic.twitter.com/iBTxIDF4rB— Tim Miller (@TimWTOL) September 10, 2020
The sun's rays struggled to crack through the thick smoke that enveloped the whole state and morning looked like dawn. Climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Daniel Swain, wrote on Twitter, "Extremely dense & tall smoke plumes from numerous large wildfires, some of which have been generating nocturnal pyrocumulunimbus clouds ("fire thunderstorms"), are almost completely blocking out the sun across some portions of Northern California this morning."
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District explained why California was experiencing this weird phenomenon. They wrote, "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."
The orange skies this morning are a result of wildfire 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. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/IGFVDgGLpC— Bay Area Air Quality (@AirDistrict) September 9, 2020
Oakland resident, Michelle McKeown posted a picture on Instagram of the homes in her neighborhood with their lights on at 10 a.m. Talking to CNN she said, "It feels eerie, apocalyptic and frightening. I've lived in the Bay Area since 1988 and never experienced such doom coming from the sky."
In some areas, the sky was red. Maya Messoriano posted a picture of the sky above her Minds Eye Vintage store and said that even though the sky looked terrifyingly red, there was no smell of smoke.
Brian Garcia told SFGate, "This is not a common sight because this takes very specific conditions in order for this to happen. Obviously, you need fires that have ample smoke production." He is the forecaster at National Weather Service (NWS).
Oregon Governor Kate Brown called the incident as "once-in-a-generation event" and added that it could bring about "the greatest loss in human lives and property in the state's history." While forecasters predict the same conditions for the coming days as well, officials disclosed that at least two people lost their lives to the fire. A 1-year-old boy died after his family tried to flee from the flames on their property in Washington.
According to The Guardian, the fire named as the El Dorado that destroyed more than 7,000 acres was sparked because of a “gender-reveal party,” as reported by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
In a statement released on Sunday, September 6, the department stated that the cause of the fire which started on the morning of Septemeber 5 was a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used in gender reveal parties.
The statement read, “With the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire. Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible."
Disclaimer: This is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information about the California fires is swiftly changing, and Women Working is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.