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Smoke pushes into SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA Bay Area as Mosquito Fire threatens quality of air

The sky over California‘s SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA Bay Area glowed orange at sunrise Friday morning with a thin layer of smoke from the Mosquito Fire in the Sierra Nevada blanketing the spot.

Pushed by easterly winds, the sooty air moved in to the region overnight, the National Weather Service said.

“We do see smoke on the Bay Area on satellite and webcams,” Jeff Lorber, a forecaster with the elements service’s Monterey office, said. “The smoke is likely to linger through Saturday. The winds will shift Sunday to more southwesterly in order that should help blow the smoke out from the region on Sunday.”

The Bay Area QUALITY OF AIR Management District issued an quality of air advisory for Friday and Saturday. The agency didn’t issue a far more severe Spare the Air Alert as pollutant levels aren’t likely to exceed the national health standard.

Mars-colored sunrise in San Francisco glows with the smoke from massive forest fires in California, on Friday morning, Sept. 9, 2022. 

Mars-colored sunrise in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA glows with the smoke from massive forest fires in California, on Friday morning, Sept. 9, 2022.

Photo by Servet Uysal

“Smoky, hazy skies could be visible and the smell of smoke could be present,” the agency said.

It had been another story nearer to the fire that’s burning in the Tahoe National Forest close to the Placer County town of Foresthill. Thick, toxic smoke has resulted in hazardous quality of air levels. Readings in the Sierra foothills ranged from unhealthy to hazardous Friday morning.

Around Folsom Lake and in the city of Auburn, some QUALITY OF AIR Index readings were over 500, in accordance with AirNow, environmentally friendly Protection Agency website tracking quality of air.

The QUALITY OF AIR Index, or AQI, operates on a scale from 0 to over 500. A higher AQI value corresponds with higher degrees of polluting of the environment and health concern. An AQI value of 50 or below represents good quality of air, while an AQI value over 300 signals hazardous conditions, based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It is a very good news / bad news kind of Friday here.

Bad: #MosquitoFire smoke has effects on areas downwind of the fire.

Good: Smoke may keep afternoon temps several degrees cooler than originally forecast.

Will need to wait & observe how it plays out this aftn during peak heating! #cawx

NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) September 9, 2022

The sooty air flooded the Lake Tahoe basin on Thursday night; on Friday morning, a thick blanket was overhead. While quality of air on the South Shore ranged from moderate to unhealthy, the North Shore AQI readings were in the unhealthy to very unhealthy range.

Smoke from California's Mosquito Fire flooded the Lake Tahoe Basin on Sept. 9, 2022.

Smoke from California’s Mosquito Fire flooded the Lake Tahoe Basin on Sept. 9, 2022.

Nancy Shinabargar

“Some smoke may drift in to the Sacramento region briefly today, but were likely to begin to see some onshore winds later today and tonight and thats likely to push that smoke nearer to the surface in to the mountains and foothills,” said Emily Heller, a forecaster with the elements service’s Sacramento office. “Round the Tahoe basin and areas north, such as for example Lake Almanor, theyre likely to continue steadily to see smoky conditions until Sunday. Needless to say everything would depend on which the fire does.”

The 23,000-acre Mosquito Fire is burning 150 miles to the northeast of SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA and is threatening several small Gold Rush towns, including Foresthill and Georgetown.

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