At least seven people have died in raging West Coast wildfires stretching across California, Oregon, and Washington, as the skies over northern California turned an “apocalyptic” dark orange, blocking out the sun, according to reports.
In northern California, the sky turned an eerie orange on Wednesday morning, a mix of fog and smoke from the fires blocking out the sunrise in the Bay Area, NBC News reported. Cars were forced to keep headlights on throughout the day.
“This morning I woke up at 7 a.m. and thought my alarm was wrong because it was so dark,” one San Francisco resident told the network. “I didn’t smell smoke but had a feeling the fires were affecting the atmosphere. I pulled back my curtains to see the sky was dark orange, and it felt so apocalyptic. I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life and never seen anything like it.”
The spooky-looking sky also prompted the Twitter hashtag #OrangeSky with waves of people posting photos and videos.
In California alone, more than 2.27 million acres have been burned this year, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE. That is a record, pushed on by extreme heat this season, as officials continue to fight to contain several large blazes.
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said in a Twitter post that thousands of people had been evacuated as she declared multiple emergency situations. Punishing 45-mph wind gusts drove wildfires there, destroying more than a thousand homes and burning more than 300,000 acres, the NYT reported.
“We expect to see a great deal of loss, both in structures and in human lives,” Brown said, according to the paper. “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.”
And in Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee said 480,000 acres had burned in his state this week.
The fires have claimed the lives of several victims across all three states, according to The New York Times, including a 1-year-old boy northern Washington, one person near Ashland, Ore., two people east of Salem, Ore., and three people in Butte County, Calif.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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