Dangerous Smoke Blankets California as Fires Rage Across State
(Bloomberg) -- San Francisco smells like a fireplace.
Smoke from Northern California wildfires drifted across the bay Monday morning, shrouding the skyline. Commuters walked through the city’s transit center wearing face masks -- in some cases, even adding ski masks for additional protection.
It’s worse across the bay, where Oakland has the fourth-worst air in the U.S. and volunteers have been handing out masks to the city’s homeless. Some riders on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains were wearing them as well. And earlier Monday, to the east of Los Angeles, Riverside has the most hazardous air in America.
Wildfires have forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes across the state and more than 100,000 buildings are at risk. But the smoke blanketing the state is a risk to millions of people, and officials are warning everyone in the region to limit their exposure to the fumes.
“People should not be spending lengthy time outside -- especially sensitive people who have issues breathing,” said Brendon Rubin-Oster, a meteorologist with National Weather Service.
On Sunday, the air in San Francisco was mostly clear despite the Kincade fire raging to the north. As the winds died down overnight, the city awoke Monday to a blanket of smoke that had settled at ground level, prompting an air quality advisory. Unlike during the Camp Fire last year, which also spurred air-quality warnings, there was no thick plume blotting out the sun or ash descending on the city.
But there may be some relief in sight, at least for the Bay Area. Winds are expected to shift and weaken later Monday, and some of the smoke will drift toward the Sacramento Valley, according to Rubin-Oster.
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