Heavy, wind-blown smoke from the raging Northern California wildfires was so thick over the Bay Area this weekend that San Francisco’s 911 dispatch was inundated with phone calls from complaining residents living several miles away, prompting authorities to ask the public, via social media, not to call the police unless they see a fire.
A lot of smoke from distant fires in the county. Don’t call 911 unless you see flames or can confirm the fire
— Confire PIO (@ContraCostaFire) August 15, 2015
According to Bay Area ABC News KGO, the Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said Moraga, Orinda and several other fire departments were also informed about what the CCFD was doing and suggested they attempt to “engage people in the same way.” On Sunday, they issued a second statement on Twitter to this effect:
With a second day of smokey skies over the area, a reminder to call 911 only if you see flames or otherwise confirm a fire — Confire PIO (@ContraCostaFire) August 16, 2015
KGO notes that warnings were also issued for people with asthma and respiratory conditions to stay indoors.
Meanwhile, residents continued to react on social media:
Smoke smoke smoke blankets the southern Sierras, and fire season has hardly begun in California. pic.twitter.com/Jc0vKplA4T
— Greg Asner (@greg_asner) August 15, 2015
California is really on fire. Like this smoke is ridiculous.
— Tyler J Whitted⚽️ (@Arkovea) August 15, 2015
The smoke/haze you are seeing/smelling are from the large fires in Northern California. It should be with us all day pic.twitter.com/NcTSBuf4cY
— PaloAltoFire (@PaloAltoFire) August 15, 2015
— Rachael Herron (@RachaelHerron) August 16, 2015
— Frank OConnor (@franknoc) August 15, 2015
Seventeen active wildfires continued burning throughout California as of Saturday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Last weekend, firefighters were finally able to bring the raging Rocky Fire under control. It is the Golden State’s largest wildfire of the year having reportedly burned over 70,000 acres before being contained.