As if a pandemic of unprecedented proportions wasn’t enough, major wildfires are now blanketing the West Coast — and turning the skies an apocalyptic shade of orange.
Certain parts of the Bay Area, near San Francisco, are even seeing ash snowing down from the gloomy skies.
San Francisco 09.09.20 pic.twitter.com/QdqUtKiqOT
— Zneha (@mithrilmaker) September 9, 2020
The sun isn’t expected to make an appearance for several days, according to meteorologists. Health officials are instructing residents to stay inside, and avoid outdoor activity, with air conditioners on and windows and doors closed.
Oregon governor Kate Brown declared a statewide emergency on Tuesday, with thousands of Oregonians being evacuated from their homes due to declining conditions.
“We do not have context for this amount of fire on the landscape,” Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry, told reporters on Tuesday, as quoted by Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Can’t quite capture the orange of the California sky with your smartphone camera?
That’s because our photos are all fake now — with colors selected by AI, trained on what we think is pleasing. It decides what’s “real."
— Geoffrey A. Fowler (@geoffreyfowler) September 9, 2020
In sum, it’s a climate catastrophe that has come home to roost — despite decades of evidence.
“We can no longer assume that there will always be a habitable planet for us — because unless we enact major changes now, there won’t be,” wrote Los Angeles local Henry Mantel in a letter to the LA Times.
Opened the door this morning in SF. Sky in California is really this orange pic.twitter.com/erJB2ENTPY
— Carla (@DoctorWC) September 9, 2020
And temperatures keep climbing. Los Angeles recently recorded its highest temperature on record: a blistering 121 degrees in Woodland Hills, a west LA neighborhood.
The fires are raging with such a ferocity, in fact, that they can be easily spotted from space. A single gigantic cloud of dust recorded on September 6 even started obscuring all other scientific readings.
— Roqo (@m_roqo) September 9, 2020
Warm air from fires rising up carrying water vapor with it can create a “thunderhead cloud” — as its name suggests, an apocalyptic clash of fire and lightning, the latter of which can even end up creating new fires, according to NASA.
READ MORE: Bay Area sky turns bright orange, some areas see ‘snowing’ ash [SF Gate]
More on climate change: The Majority of Gen Z Thinks Climate Change Is Inevitable