Videos: San Francisco Skies Blackened as Wildfires Burn Across Several US States

© REUTERS / STEPHEN LAMDowntown San Francisco is seen from Dolores Park under an orange sky darkened by smoke from California wildfires in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 9, 2020.
Downtown San Francisco is seen from Dolores Park under an orange sky darkened by smoke from California wildfires in San Francisco, California, U.S. September 9, 2020. - Sputnik International
Mass evacuation orders have been issued across several US states such as California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington, as emergency officials work tirelessly to contain multiple wildfires threatening the lives of many along the US’ West Coast.

In California’s San Francisco Bay Area, residents awoke early Wednesday to a dark, thick blanket of smoke and pumpkin-orange skies as a result of the growing wildfires. Photos shared on social media show that not even the sun’s ray were able to penetrate the smokey air.

Many residents shared images of the hazy air, noting their shock at the lack of light in the later morning hours as they underscored the toxicity of the sky. 

At present, a total of 42 fires are burning throughout the Golden State, with the most recent being dubbed the Willow Fire by officials after it erupted early Wednesday. The blaze has burned over 1,000 acres and has yet to be contained.

​The Willow Fire alone has prompted the evacuation of some 3,000 residents in the Loma Rica area.

Of the wildfires churning in California, the largest is the Santa Clara Unit (SCU) Lightning Complex of blazes, which started on August 16 and has since burned over 390,000 acres. It’s presently 95% contained.

According to California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the SCU Lightning Complex fires spread through multiple counties, including Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Merced and Santislaus. In its wrath, the fire complex has damaged or destroyed at least 250 structures.

Many of California’s wildfires began in late August as a result of lightning strikes across the state’s northern region. This year alone, wildfires have burned over 2.5 million acres in the state. 

Cal Fire noted in its Wednesday update that 14,000 firefighters are currently battling 28 major blazes in the state, and that overnight wind conditions “allowed many fires to grow significantly with extreme fire behavior.”

Elsewhere, in nearby Oregon, new fires emerged as strong winds continued to blow through the region, ultimately giving more fuel to the state’s Santiam and Lionshead Fires - the biggest fires growing in Marion County, which have already burned through some 200,000 acres.

Almost 100,000 homes and businesses were without power Wednesday in Oregon. The state’s Office of Emergency Management reported that at least 35 fires were raging across Oregon.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown approved an emergency order Tuesday, freeing up resources for fire crews. The Democratic governor noted that the current wildfires are “proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state and frankly for the entire West Coast.”

Brown revealed in a Wednesday update that several communities have been substantially destroyed and "hundreds of homes lost." She predicts that loss of life is expected.

In Washington state, residents haven’t fared much better. Wildfires burned through 330,000 acres of land within a period of just 24 hours this week.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters during a Tuesday news conference that the situation was unprecedented. “These fires are extraordinary. They are doing things we have never seen before - as to how fast they spread,” he said.

Strong winds felt in California, Oregon and Washington state have also driven wildfires in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and even Wyoming.

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