Wildfires Cover Bay Area with Smoke

Rafi Avecedo Jr. &nbsp&nbsp The setting sun painted wildfire smoke with a tinge of red on Sunday evening near Alameda’s picture-book Victorian-era home at San Jose Avenue and Willow Street.

Wildfires Cover Bay Area with Smoke

Air quality listed as unhealthy several days

The smoke lingering over the Bay Area is coming from fires burning both to the north and south of Alameda. Lightning strikes from Tropical Storm Fausto — which was churning the waters of the Pacific more than 1,000 miles away — caused most of the fires. Fausto sent a plume of clouds our way accompanied by thunder and lightning from Sunday, Aug. 16, into the early morning hours of Aug. 17.

Calfire responded in force on Aug. 17, to what it is calling the “August Lightning Siege of 2020.” Calfire named the fires after its organizational units (see the map accompanying this story.) Calfire added “Lightning Complex Fire” to the descriptions of the three units where Fausto’s lighting strikes had started the wildfires:

n The Santa Cruz Unit (CZU) includes San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. The fires have burned 78,869 acres and are 17 percent contained as of 8 a.m., Tuesday.
n The Santa Clara Unit (SCU) includes Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. At 8 a.m., Tuesday, Calfire reported that the fires here have burned 363,772 acres and are 15 percent contained.
n The Lake and Napa Unit (LNU) includes Lake, Napa and Solano counties. At 9:36 a.m., Tuesday, Calfire reported that the 12 fires burning in this unit are 27 percent contained after consuming 352,913 acres.

Fires in all three of these units continue to cover the Bay Area in a pall of smoke. The smoke will linger until all these fires are extinguished.

Alameda Fire Department’s Role
The Alameda Fire Department (AFD) in lending Calfire its resources. So far, AFD has deployed 10 firefighters:

n The department’s Office of Emergency Service’s (OES) Engine 296 and four firefighters are working the River Fire in Monterey County, part of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. They are protecting homes that were both threatened by fire and on fire.
n AFD dispatched Water Tender 2 with two firefighters to the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.
n Engine Company 3 with four firefighters is fighting the wildfires at the SCU Lightning Complex Fire.

In the meantime, all Alameda fire stations remain open and fully staffed.

Calfire    This map shows how Calfire divides the state into units. The fires whose smoke affects the Bay Area burn in LNU to the north, CZU southwest of here and SCU southeast of Alameda.
National Aeronautics & Space Administration    This GOES 17 Weather Satellite photograph shows smoke covering the Bay Area from the fires around Vallejo and Fairfield (top right) and from fires in Santa Cruz County, bottom left. The East Bay Hills have captured a finger-like portion of smoke that continues to linger over Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda.