SAN FRANCISCO—As wildfires roared in areas surrounding San Francisco, thousands of Bay Area residents have been instructed to evacuate due to the smoke now covering the city, inhibiting the air quality and conditions.

The quality will be “very poor” in the coming days because of the swift spread of the fires and smoke, the Bay Area arm of the National Weather Service tweeted on August 19 at 7:40 a.m. Some of the smoke is also followed by a handful of ash, furthering the contamination of the air in and around San Francisco. 

Wood burning in the area was banned after air district authorities issued a Space the Air alert through August 19, along with an air quality advisory through Thursday. 

Many homes who received the notice to evacuate were informed of their situation around 2:30 a.m. on August 19, while police officers and firefighters also walked door to door in order to warn the residents of the encroaching threats.

“This is a very active timber fire burning in two counties with a serious threat to both public safety and for structures that are out in front of it,” Jonathan Cox, California Fire spokesperson, told the Associated Press.

Jack Broadbent, chief executive officer for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District also mentioned to the San Francisco Chronicle an increase in potential respiratory risks due to COVID-19, as many who fall ill with the sickness face respiratory difficulties.

Cooler air is expected to move into the Bay Area on August 20 which could also assist in containing the fires.