A passenger recorded eerie video as her plane took off from San Francisco into orange clouds as fires continue to rage on in the Bay Area and throughout California.
On Sept. 9, Christina Beckmann uploaded video to Twitter that showed her plane, which was heading to Denver, Colorado, take off from San Francisco International Airport through an orange haze and into the orange clouds above.
“A special thanks to the Captain & flight attendants for not only cheering us up but keeping us safe during a very ominous situation,” Beckmann’s tweet read.
During takeoff, Beckmann said she could smell the smoke from the multiple wildfires burning in the area.
“As we were climbing to 10,000 feet, the cabin was immediately filled with the scent of smoke for at least two minutes,” Beckmann added.
She noticed a passenger across from her with “tear-filled, fearful eyes,” and because of the mask mandate, the only thing Beckmann could do to show comfort to her fellow passenger was give a thumbs-up as an “everything is going to be all right” gesture, Beckmann said.
“We as passengers all showed concern and awe as we gazed outside our windows,” she said. “It wasn’t just about the flight. It was about feeling empathy and grief for every family that has lost, and continue to lose, everything.”
Smoke from massive wildfires that painted California skies orange was also helping crews corral the deadliest blaze of the year, but despite the progress there was concern that the death toll could mount as crews reach devastated areas.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead since lightning-caused fires that started weeks ago fused into a monster that largely destroyed Berry Creek, a tiny hamlet in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco.
Crews made progress Friday in chopping or bulldozing brush-free lines to control the North Complex fire.
In addition, gusting winds that whipped up the flames days earlier eased while smoke blocked out the sun and lowered previously scorching temperatures. Saturday's high temperature was expected to top out at 80 degrees or less.
Nearly 15,000 firefighters were battling 28 major wildfires across California, although 24 were sparked Thursday and quickly contained.
This year already has seen shattered California records for the most area burned — more land than the state of Connecticut — and recorded the largest fire of all time in the state. Five of the top 10 biggest blazes in state history are still burning and fire season often gets worse in the fall. Some 4,000 homes and other buildings have been destroyed.
The Associated Press and Storyful contributed to this report.