Exactly a week after San Franciscans woke up to a dystopian, dark-orange sky, the city arose to fresh air and blueish/foggy sky on Wednesday morning. How sweet it is.
Clean air has been a nearly non-existent commodity in the last ten days, with a massive smoke front sitting over much of the West Coast and not enough marine breeze to push it east. As of Tuesday, there were reports of the wildfire smoke from Washington, Oregon, and California reaching New York, and as of Wednesday, we can clearly see from air quality maps that the "purple" air has headed off to Lake Tahoe, Nevada and points east, while most of the Bay Area has lovely "blue" or "green" "good" air now.
Bad for Tahoe, where there are currently AQI readings in the 300s and 400s, but good for us.
It's been exactly a month since lightning strikes sparked wildfires up and down the state of California and into Oregon, and some of those fires continue smoldering and/or actively burning. The most active in California are the August and North Complex fires, burning up in the Mendocino National Forest and Plumas National Forest, respectively. They can be seen as red spots on the smoke simulation below, along with the Dolan Fire to the south near Big Sur, which continues actively burning as well.
Good Morning Bay Area! Latest smoke model simulation. Note this is near surface smoke versus smoke aloft. General trend will be for improving conditions except near the Dolan Fire. Red spots are heat. Disregard the East Bay spots which are refineries. #DolanFire #CAwx #Smoke pic.twitter.com/OhornywufK— NWS Bay Area (@NWSBayArea) September 16, 2020
As of Wednesday, the SCU Lightning Complex fires are 98-percent contained, and the LNU Lightning Complex fires are 97-percent contained. Both fires are now considered to be in "patrol status," with no active burning for the last week. Together the fires burned over 760,000 acres (1,188 square miles) spread across 11 counties. Additionally, the CZU Lightning Complex has burned 86,500 acres in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, and it was 93-percent contained as of Wednesday morning.