Starting as early as Monday morning, smoke from the still-growing Oak Fire in Mariposa County — a blaze that now measures well over 14,000 acres in size with no containment recorded — will make its way into the Bay Area. Get ready to don those wildfire-approved face masks (like N95s) again.
In a pleasant, welcomed surprise, this year's wildfire season in Northern California was off to a slow start. Despite historic drought levels and unusually high temperatures, the region had seemingly avoided the substantial blazes we've become accustomed to seeing during the season over the past few years.
Smoke from the #OakFire will arrive over portions of the Bay Area beginning tomorrow morning. At this time, smoke is anticipated to remain aloft rather than near the surface.— NWS Bay Area 🌉 (@NWSBayArea) July 24, 2022
Expect hazy and slightly red/orange-tinted skies due to this smoke by tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/1UqvJ3DFs4
That dream, however, came to a blinding stop when the Oak Fire began burning sometime Friday at Highway 140 and Carstens Road near Midpines. Since then, the completely uncontained wildfire has doubled in size with each passing day, now forcing thousands to flee their homes and seek shelter elsewhere. It quickly became the largest incident under CAL FIRE's management — by a large margin.
While Saturday's wind conditions helped fling the Oak Fire's haze away from the Bay Area, this week's expected forecast isn't expected to be as forgiving. By tomorrow, we could be seeing "slightly red/orange-tinted skies."
"Smoke from the #OakFire will arrive over portions of the Bay Area beginning tomorrow morning," reads a tweet from the National Weather Service: SF Bay Area. "At this time, smoke is anticipated to remain aloft rather than near the surface. Expect hazy and slightly red/orange-tinted skies due to this smoke by tomorrow."
Yep. The Orange Skies of 2020 look like they'll make a return next week — an ominous reminder of just how real the climate crisis is.
Photo: Getty Images/My Photo Buddy