‘Getting pretty apocalyptic’: California skies turn orange as awestruck residents fear the wrath of wildfires

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California residents are fearing impending doom as wildfire smoke has shifted the skies to an ominous orange hue across the Bay Area hundreds of miles away.

The wildfire smoke turned the skies a yellowish hue on Tuesday but the skies have since turned noticeably darker in color, shifting to an eerie orange worthy of a dystopian sci-fi thriller.

Particles in the air are refracting sunlight, scattering the shorter wavelengths of blue and green light, allowing red and yellow to pass through, causing the orange glow.

UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain said that extremely dense and tall plumes of smoke from the surrounding wildfires were “almost completely blocking out the sun” while generating“nocturnal pyrocumulunimbus clouds” or fire thunderstorms. 

Swain postulated that a hitherto unseen “smoke cyclone” may also be forming over the area.

Falling ash was reported in some areas while the fire smoke drifts higher in the air before appearing over the Bay Area, allowing colder marine air to float in, sparing residents from choking on toxic fumes but generating some truly ominous conditions nonetheless.

The Bay Area has experienced 25 straight days of “Spare the Air” alerts, the longest period of unhealthy air quality on record, almost doubling the previous record of 14 consecutive days during the 2018 Camp Fire. 

Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, has warned residents that these skies may linger for some time, as “Not a lot of change is expected” in atmospheric conditions in the short term. 

The Creek Fire and the North Complex Fire are burning more than 200 miles away while Oregon is witnessing similar apocalyptic skies. At least three people have been killed, 12 are feared missing and hundreds evacuated in the latest escalation of wildfire activity in the state. 

The state has been scorched by increasingly intense wildfires for a number of years, compounding the problem annually, exacerbated by frequent droughts.

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