Breathing San Francisco Air like Smoking '11 Cigarettes a Day' After Wildfires
Air quality has moved from red or 'unhealthy' to purple or 'very unhealthy'
The San Francisco Bay Area has been forced to shut down tourist attractions on Friday due to smoke from California's deadliest wildfire drastically reducing air quality levels more dangerous than South Asia's polluted megacities.
The city's AQI means that breathing the air for 24 hours is equivalent to smoking 11 cigarettes.
According to the SFMTA transport authority: 'San Francisco's air quality has moved from red or 'unhealthy' to purple or 'very unhealthy' due to local wildfires and weather patterns.'
'The Department of Public Health highly recommends that everyone stay indoors and avoid exposure to the outside air.'
Yesterday, officials confirmed that 63 people have now been killed by the Northern California wildfire, with 631 people still missing and feared dead.
The ever-evolving accounting of the dead and missing has made the Camp Fire the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century as officials scramble to pinpoint everyone’s whereabouts.
According to the DM: Mayor London Breed announced that public buses would be free for the day to ensure people have access to enclosed transportation.
Schools and tourist attractions across the San Francisco Bay Area were shut Friday and residents were urged to stay indoors as smoke from California's deadliest wildfire produced air quality levels worse than in South Asia's polluted megacities.
San Francisco ordered its iconic cable cars returned to their stations as the Air Quality Index (AQI) soared to 271, comparable to Dhaka, Bangladesh and worse than Kolkata, India.
The city's AQI means that breathing the air for 24 hours is the same as smoking 11 cigarettes. A blanket of smoke engulfs the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
The city's AQI means that breathing the air for 24 hours is the same as smoking 11 cigarettes
These photos show before and after the smoke in Chico, California, as haze hangs over the city now.
'The Department of Public Health highly recommends that everyone stay indoors and avoid exposure to the outside air,' a statement read. Pictured is the campus of California State University
A thick blanket of haze enveloped the region, and the famous Golden Gate Bridge was shrouded in thick smog.
'It's bad,' said local resident Melvin Karsenti.
'You have this constant haze over the city. The air feels thicker. I've never seen that many people wear (face) masks.'
Meanwhile, the missing person's list grew from 631 on Thursday night to 1,011 people who remain unaccounted for in Paradise and surrounding areas affected by the Camp Fire, according to authorities.
But officials have stressed it doesn't mean that 1,011 are missing.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the list was dynamic and could easily contain duplicate names and unreliable spellings.
Some of the people among the ever-evolving tally have been confirmed as dead by family and friends on social media.
'I want you to understand that this is a dynamic list,' he told reporters.
He said that on a positive note, 329 people who had been listed as missing since the fire broke out had so far been accounted for.
'The information I am providing you is raw data and we find there is the likely possibility that the list contains duplicate names,' he said, adding that some people who had escaped may also be unaware that they have been listed as missing.
Others have been found safe, but authorities have not yet marked them as such.