When the Bay Area woke up on Sept. 9, the skies were deep orange. Some saw it as a sign of the apocalypse and went back to bed. Others played David Bowie or watched "Blade Runner 2049." Just about everyone else took photos.
And then there's the group of surfers at Ocean Beach who said, "You know what? Let's hit the waves." (Full story)
Dense smoke plumes from several large wildfires burning in parts of Northern California and even Oregon are blocking out the sun, shrouding the Bay Area in an orange glow.
“We have multiple layers of clouds down near our regular marine layer,” said Jan Null, a meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services. “Up above, we have three or four different layers of smoke coming from a variety of fires as far away as Oregon; some fires to the east of Chico.”
Those layers, which cover most of the western two-thirds of California and are filtering out the sun, are made up of different densities of smoke. “In some cases, some of those plumes are 20 or 30,000 feet where they're being risen up by the heat from these fires,” Null said. (Full story)
Before the wildfire that tore through in August 2020 forced its closure, Big Basin Redwoods State Park received about 250,000 visitors a year from around the world.
The ancient redwoods they came to see are some of the tallest living things on the planet. And when it was confirmed that many of those trees had in fact survived the huge CZU Lightning Complex fire, there was widespread relief.
The recovery of Big Basin is being supported by a huge fundraising effort by the Sempervirens Fund — California's oldest land trust, established in 1900.
Founded by a handful of redwoods enthusiasts in the Santa Cruz mountains, the Sempervirens Fund was responsible for lobbying for the creation of Big Basin itself in 1902, making it California's very first state park. Now, 120 years later, it's working with the park through its biggest crisis yet.
"Things will definitely look different," said Sempervirens Fund Executive Director Sara Barth. (Full story)
“A lot of people, mostly older people, come every day to sit down and just have a cup of coffee, or a cup of lai chai,” Tilly Tsang said. “They just want to see if they know anybody so they can chat, chat, chat.”
Lai chai, or milk tea, is one of the many Hong Kong staples that Tsang has offered at her restaurant, a local favorite, for over two decades, along with their beloved baked pork chop rice plates and salt and pepper chicken wings. Her loyal customers include Chinatown residents who live in single-room occupancy hotels (SROs). They treat Tsang’s restaurant, and other immigrant and family-owned businesses, as an essential place to catch up and socialize with one another because many of their cramped buildings lack common areas.
But since the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners like Tsang are facing the devastating reality that many will not survive. Tens of thousands have already permanently closed in the United States, and it is uncertain when another round of federal government assistance will arrive. Aid from the federal Paycheck Protection Program has largely run out for those who could get it.
Eviction moratoriums have prevented more San Francisco businesses from folding, but the city’s commercial eviction moratorium ends on Sept. 14. That means commercial tenants will have until Monday to pay back missed rent payments – which for many add up to six months rent – or else landlords can start evicting them as early as October. Locals fear that once commercial evictions begin, those who depend on the businesses for jobs, culture and community will be displaced, and the cultural landscape of San Francisco will be irreparably harmed. (Full story)