MODIS satellite image, captured on Sunday, illustrates the expansiveness of the smoke from the wildfires.

Two nearby wildfires several miles to the north and east of the Bay Area of California brought a thick layer of smoke into the area this most recent weekend. Impacts will persist into the start of the new week as northeasterly winds continue to pick up that ash and smoke.

These two wildfires, dubbed the County and Pawnee Fires, first ignited on June 30th and June 23rd, respectively. The Pawnee Fire, which we first reported on here, has now grown to over 14,000 acres but thankfully it is now 73 percent contained. When the fire first rampantly formed and rapidly spread, it destroyed 22 structures. Some neighborhoods remain at direct risk from this fire, including in the Double Eagle subdivision where mandatory evacuation orders are in place.

County Fire, captured Saturday night. Credit: Vince Buffalo

The County Fire, a more recent wildfire that developed quite recently on the final day of June, has already burnt over 22,000 acres in just less than a 48-hour time period. There is no estimate on containment at this time from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As a result of this escalating fire, mandatory evacuations have been declared for some residents in Yolo County, which is located northwest of Sacramento.

As a result of these fires, air quality has become poor across the Bay Area and surrounding areas, making for a very smoky sky. Visibility has also been lowered. On a normal day, you can completely see the Golden Gate Bridge perfectly fine, but due to the smoke flowing in, you can only see one of the bases of the bridge.

Credit: Sara Broyles

During the daylight hours of Sunday in San Francisco, a city that is often sunny and dry in the summertime, is instead smokey and orange. Rick Zuzow, who captured the below photograph, describes the sky as “bizarre.”

Credit: Rick Zuzow

According to the local National Weather Service office, the smoke will hang on this Monday, but concentrations will gradually decrease and conditions should improve — at least somewhat — by midweek.


Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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