Bay Area residents awoke to a strange new world on Wednesday. Due to nearby wildfires, a tragic trend that California has dealt with at historic levels the last few years, the entire region was covered in a layer of smoke so thick that it combined with the marine fog to block out the sun entirely. The whole sky turned an eerie yellow-orange color, with temperatures dozens of degrees below where they would have been otherwise.
The whole scene was surreal enough to make you wonder for a moment if you’d even woken up yet, or were still in bed having a weird dream. However, for as ominous as it appeared to the eye, MLB determined that the air quality itself wasn’t bad enough to breathe that it required postponing the day’s play, so the Oakland A’s and Houston Astros went through with their scheduled baseball game.
(For what it’s worth, I couldn’t smell the smoke at any point during the day in nearby Walnut Creek, the scent of which has been a common occurrence on other days that bring stronger public health warnings.)
The resulting photos are so bizarre that they appear doctored, but this is really what the sky looked like all day and night. Let’s remember to keep a heavy heart as we marvel at these images, as much of the smoke is made up of people’s homes and livelihoods that have burned.
It was like something out of a sci-fi movie.
And that’s not just a snapshot of one moment. The haze lasted all day, from dawn through the end of the night. (More photos and details at the S.F. Chronicle.)
A timelapse of the eerie, orange sky that lasted all day over San Francisco as sunlight was heavily filtered by wildfire smoke. While much of the smoke was aloft above the marine layer, ash fell through at times, adding to an apocalyptic scene. #SF #timelapse #CAwx pic.twitter.com/Zb4pqNlBFO— Daniel Alrick (@SFmeteorologist) September 10, 2020
And it wasn’t just Oakland, but all over the area.
Scenes from around San Francisco where dark orange skies are still blanketing the city and region.— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) September 9, 2020
This apocalyptic hue is due to a combination of smoke from various wildfires sitting above the marine fog layer. More here on @sfchronicle https://t.co/eChDMsLZLs pic.twitter.com/VaQlNsML0y
As a coincidence, A’s infielders Matt Chapman and Matt Olson received their 2019 Gold Glove awards before the game. Their trophies nearly matched the color of the sky.
The overriding analogy for the day was that this game was being played on Mars. Adding to the effect, the A’s were hosting the space-themed Houston Astros, whose mascot is a space alien named Orbit.
The atmosphere was not dissimilar in appearance to what Matt Damon’s character encounters in the film adaptation of The Martian.
Tonight’s ceremonial pitch from Matt Damon pic.twitter.com/77b6w2ayPz— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) September 10, 2020
The sky looks closer to normal Thursday morning, with plenty of morning fog so far but at least a color we’re used to. Hopefully the road trip to Mars will be a one-time thing, and not a new recurring series.