Orange skies blanket California again due to wildfires

The story of wildfires in California is tragic, but familiar. Homes and businesses get destroyed as people flee for survival. Even the strange sight of heavy smoke turning skies orange is becoming a recognizable part of the landscape.

This time the sky turned in orange thanks to the huge Dixie Fire.

Video from an ALERTWildfire camera showed a Martian-themed glow over the horizon near Susanville in Lassen County. The fire increased to more than 400,000 acres Friday, turning it into the third-largest wildfire in California history. 

The clogged skies were also seen in cellphone video recorded by Katrina Brackett on Thursday in Susanville, Calif. which is about 85 miles northwest of Reno, Nevada.

"It’s absolutely horrible to watch the fire spread as much as it is and to see people in the area lose their homes, businesses, basically everything. A lot of people moved to Greenville, Westwood, and Chester after the Paradise fire and they now have to start over again," Brackett told Storyful.

The Dixie Fire has ravaged the small Sierra Nevada towns of Greenville, Canyondam and other nearby places. 

While the largest fires are burning miles away, the Bay Area is no stranger to orange skies created by fire and smoke.

Last September as the pandemic was in full force, the heavens also turned dark orange, with strokes of charcoal and yellow. 

To some, it seemed like an apocalypse and many wondered, "what happens next?" 

MORE: Wildfires cast eerie orange shade over Bay Area skies

Meteorologists explain that smoke particles from the fires allow sunlight's longer-wavelength colors like red and orange to get through while blocking the shorter wavelengths of yellow, blue and green. 

And there is definitely a lot of smoke in the air. 

As of Friday, California firefighters were fighting at least a dozen wildfires, including the River Fire and Tamarack Fire among others.