Many people living in San Francisco awoke in a panic on Monday, smelling smoke from a series of fires that have been burning through Northern California’s wine country since late Sunday.
Fourteen fires ignited overnight and grew as strong, dry winds spread the flames over fields and freeways. The eight-county blaze is shaping up to be one the worst firestorms in state history. It has destroyed at least 1,500 homes, businesses, and other structures.
In San Francisco, the sky turned red and hazy as fires scorched land more than a hundred miles away. Thick smoke filled the air, causing some residents to believe the flames reached closer.
— Charlene Li (@charleneli) October 9, 2017
— Dr Gail Barnes (@ZAGrrl) October 9, 2017
— Ma. Leticia Gomez (@LeticiaGomezTV) October 9, 2017
Residents took to social media to express their fears.
— Alex Yee (@ayee07) October 9, 2017
Guys is there a fire in SF right now? Smells like there's a bonfire outside my window.
— sigrid (@sigrid) October 9, 2017
I hear fire engines still and live right next to a fire station in Alamo square…. this is definitely in SF
— Monica (@monicapuchner) October 9, 2017
Some people were stirred from their sleep by the smell of smoke.
It just woke me up too! Thought for sure there was a fire in my neighborhood. It's incredible.
— Jandy Nelson (@jandynelson) October 9, 2017
— Zoeyzoe (@airikaadams) October 9, 2017
At 4:42 a.m. on Monday, the San Francisco Fire Department posted from its official Twitter account, “If your [sic] smelling smoke in SF it is more likely due to the Napa Fire and the Strong winds.”
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service told The Mercury News that strong winds caused the widespread smell of smoke to fan from the northeast to the Bay Area.
10f2-If your smelling smoke in SF it is more likely due to the Napa Fire and the Strong winds. We have NO fires in SF at this moment pic.twitter.com/9YjmRKcxBr
— San Francisco Fire (@sffdpio) October 9, 2017
In the lower Bay Area counties, a police dispatcher told the San Francisco Chronicle they received several calls to 911 in San Mateo County due to “drift smoke from Sonoma County.”
The social media frenzy may have subsided, but San Franciscans are still feeling the effects of the firestorm raging in the north. It left a coating of ash on homes and cars in the city.
— SethRobot ???? (@sethrobot) October 9, 2017
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) October 9, 2017