Smoke reaches the SF Bay Area: How bad will it get? – SFGate

Smoke from wildfires burning in California’s northwest corner pushed into the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday night, and residents woke to hazy skies Friday morning. 

The National Weather Service said most the smoke is suspended in the mid-levels of the atmosphere with less near the surface. The sky may look hazy, but the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said the higher elevation smoke isn’t causing widespread unhealthy air quality levels.

“The smoke is staying aloft currently,” said Aaron Richardson, a spokesperson for the management district. “We think it’s above 2,000 feet. We may see some smoky skies in portions of the Bay Area, but we’re not expecting the air quality to be anything worse than moderate.”

The smoke is expected to be thickest in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties, and similar conditions with moderate air quality are forecast for Saturday.

Wildfires have ravaged California in recent months, but the San Francisco Bay Area has been mostly spared from the toxic smoke these blazes have produced.

That changed Thursday with a shift in winds and the sooty air traveling south along the coast, the National Weather Service said.

Weather service meteorologist Drew Peterson said the smoke will likely be light, with hazy conditions throughout the day Friday. 

“We can’t rule out that people will occasionally smell smoke and it might look hazy,” Peterson said. “It will be nothing like it looked that day when the sky turned orange last year. Today will likely be the haziest day.”

The smoke is traveling from three wildfires burning in the northwest part of the state. The Monument Fire started July 30 has burned through 36,015 acres in Trinity County. The McFarland Fire ignited July 29 and has torn through 26,598 acres in western Shasta County. The River Complex Fire is a group of fires within the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County discovered after a series of thunderstorms swept through the area. The series of blazes ignited July 30, and has burned 16,773 acres. 

“We’re still trying to figure out what the impacts will be from these fires, but at this point, we’re seeing that we’re not going to see smoke at the levels like last year when the smoke was so bad,” Richardson said.

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