Smoke From California Wildfires Affects SFO, Visible From LAX

Nov 10, 2018

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The western United States has been ravaged by wildfires this year, particularly along the California coast. Terrifying satellite images from NASA’s Earth Observatory show that the latest series of fast-moving fires, including Thursday morning’s Camp Fire 90 miles north of Sacramento, is visible all the way from space.

Now the worst fire in California history is beginning to disrupt air traffic operations at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). United and American have already issued waivers, and other airlines are monitoring the situation to consider following suit. The official airport SFO Twitter account stated Friday that “Butte County wildfires are impacting some flights at SFO. The devastating wildfires are causing unhealthy air quality conditions, reduced visibility, and widespread smoke and haze. SFO is experiencing some delays and cancellations. Please check with your airline for flight details.” Saturday morning’s inbound flights were experiencing delays averaging around 48 minutes due to compromised visibility, according to FlightAware. In further bad news, the San Jose Mercury News meteorologists anticipate that lack of wind means that the smoke will stick around at least through the weekend.

370-odd miles to the south, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has yet to be directly impacted by the separate wildfires raging in the region, although the smoke cloud can be clearly seen from the airport.

Interested in donating to wildfire victims and relief? You can earn United miles while you’re at it by donating to any of several organizations that have partnered with the carrier.

This post has been updated to clarify that the smoke visible at LAX is from the Southern California wildfires.

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