The intense smoke of these days due to the fires declared in California (USA) joined this Wednesday to the fog and covered San Francisco with an unprecedented sky of an intense orange color that reminded the imaginary of the Apocalypse.
The fog, usual at this time of year in this part of the state, had been absent during the last days, but today it returned with intensity and left skies like never before remembered, with hardly any light at midday and an almost red orange that in turn “inked” everything else, leaving postcards as beautiful as they were terrifying.
The reason why this phenomenon occurs is because the fog and cold air from the ocean prevent the smoke (driven by hot air) from reaching the ground, and keep it in an upper layer of the atmosphere – paradoxically, the quality of the air this Wednesday is better than in the last few days – and this in turn blocks out the sunlight. Despite the fact that the air is better than in the previous days, the smoke continues to leave ashes that cover vehicles, homes, public furniture and the tables and chairs of restaurants that serve outside because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than forty fires remain active in California, twenty of which have been labeled by authorities as “major fires” in the worst season on record in that state to date. In total, the area has seen more than 7,600 fires since the beginning of the year, and by September, it has burned more than 1,000,000 acres and released huge amounts of smoke into the atmosphere.
These figures take on greater relevance when compared to last year’s, since in all of 2019 less than 5,000 fires were declared, which burned 118,000 acres, or 47,000 hectares. The great fear of the authorities is that these numbers have been reached even before what in recent years had been the “season” of fires, between October and November, and that this year is expected to be especially dangerous because of the extreme dryness.