“If the smoke and ash get even thicker near the forest fires, it can turn off the sunlight completely and make it look like the middle of the night,” said CNN meteorologist Judson Jones.
The massive puffs of smoke created by the forest fires across California have resulted in the longest run of unhealthy air quality warnings in the Bay Area, with 25 consecutive days of “spare the air”
“The smoke and ashes act like the nature version of an Instagram filter,” said Jones. “The particles in the air break the sunlight much like small air particles when the sun goes down or rises.”
The particles scatter the shorter wavelengths of blue and green so that we cannot see them. The longer wavelengths of red and yellow go through the ground and give us that “haunted” effect, Jones said.
The orange sky covered San Francisco and Sneha Patil felt like he was on another planet.
“It was surreal,” wrote Patil. “It felt like I woke up to heaven on Mars!”
Michelle McKeown from Oakland saw houses in her neighborhood with their lights on at 10 a.m.
“It feels creepy, apocalyptic and scary,” McKeown told CNN. “I’ve lived in the Bay Area since 1988 and have never seen a fall like this from the sky.”
The sky burned red over a vintage Oakland clothing store. Although it looked like it didn’t smell of smoke, said Maya Messoriano, owner of the Minds Eye Vintage Store.
“At least it finally looks like a real #apocalypse,” posted a local band called Empty Vessel on Instagram.
Climatologist Peter Gleick tried to capture the dark sky around his Berkeley home on Wednesday and said the camera doesn’t do it justice.
“I’ve lived in Northern California since 1978,” Gleick wrote on CNN. “I’ve NEVER seen a sky like this. It’s like midnight out there now (at 10.15 am), but instead of a black sky they are dark, dark red.”
“Climate change is clearly affecting forest fires: higher heat and temperatures, more drought, more dead trees, more extreme weather – including wind,” he said.
CNN’s Judson Jones and Jon Passantino contributed to this report.