Smell of Smoke From Fires in Bay Area 'Overwhelming'

An unhealthy air quality alert has been issued, 40K people displaced; SoCal dealing with its own fires
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 9, 2018 12:54 PM CST
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The Camp Fire rages through Paradise, Calif., on Thursday. Tens of thousands of people fled a fast-moving wildfire Thursday in Northern California, some clutching babies and pets as they abandoned vehicles and struck out on foot ahead of the flames that forced the evacuation of an entire town.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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(Newser) – Authorities have issued an unhealthy air quality alert for parts of the San Francisco Bay Area as smoke from a massive wildfire drifts south, polluting the air. Officials say thousands of structures in the town of Paradise, 180 miles northeast of San Francisco, were destroyed by the blaze that has charred 110 square miles, the AP reports. At least 40,000 people have been displaced. The air in San Francisco Friday is hazy and the smell of smoke is overwhelming, prompting officials to declare air quality unhealthy. They're advising older people and children to move physical activities indoors, and all people are encouraged to limit their outdoor activities. A fire official says the Northern California wildfire has put 15,000 homes and 2,000 commercial buildings in "imminent danger of burning."

Meanwhile, in Southern California, wildfires raging west of Los Angeles have forced school closures in Malibu, Calabasas, and Thousand Oaks. The city of Malibu has reduced the scope of a mandatory evacuation order for the beachside community as a wildfire approaches. Officials initially said the order issued early Friday applied to the entire city but have now defined an area that's approximately the western two-thirds of the community. The fire erupted Thursday northwest of Los Angeles and has been swept southward toward the ocean by strong Santa Ana winds. The Los Angeles and Ventura County fire departments say multiple buildings have been destroyed or damaged, but exact numbers weren't available early Friday. (Read more on the devastation in Paradise.)


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