The wildfires ripping across vast portions of the American west are literally stealing daylight from the sky.
As the video above demonstrates, massive amounts of smoke in the atmosphere seemed to transport the entirety of San Francisco to Mars for a day.
As horrible as the air quality was from the smoke, many in the Bay Area still got out to document the bizarre event with video and still photography.
Terry Tsai, a.k.a. TerryTheThunder, spotted an eerie similarity to a movie set decades in the future and using drone footage shot by YouTuber DoctorSbaitso merged eco-horror sci fi with reality by setting the footage to music from the Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack.
The visuals from that movie’s trailer are enough to make it easy to see why Tsai made the equation.
And the extreme fire behavior that’s been witnessed this year hasn’t just been wild — it’s virtually unprecedented in scope and scale.
Fire tornadoes have spun up by the handful in at least three big wildfires in the past three weeks, based on radar data. Giant clouds of ash and smoke have generated lightning. Multiple fires have gone from a few acres to more than 100,000 acres in size in a day, while advancing as many as 25 miles in a single night. And wildfire plumes have soared up to 10 miles high, above the cruising altitude of commercial jets.
While the juxtaposition of real-life footage with foreboding science fiction concepts was vividly illustrated in the video, plenty of people got out to record their own vision of California’s wildfire hell.
Photojournalist Philip Pacheco posted some vivid still images and his slideshow caption put a fine point on what people were seeing, writing, “I’ve heard comparisons to Mars, Bladerunner, the Apocalypse, Pandora’s box. While not quite dystopian, yet, it is climate change.”
“Here are a few photos from this morning,” Pacheco wrote, “when an orange glow filled the sky while simultaneously blanketing San Francisco, and much of the Bay Area in darkness. The highly unusual event was caused by smoke and ash from the numerous wildfires burning across California mixing with the marine layer flowing in, and filtering the sun.”
More images from a variety of sources below tell the story.
One thing makes this surreal situation worse: the West Coast fire season still has weeks to go.