‘It was like Black Friday’: Hardware stores, air purification businesses see massive demand amid wildfires

Air thick with smoke and the smell of ash hung in the Bay Area on Friday morning, a local sign of the rapidly spreading wildfire in Butte County north of Sacramento.

The air quality in San Francisco is “unhealthy,” according to the EPA. And the Bay Area Air Management Quality District issued a Spare the Air alert, making it illegal to burn wood.

In an area where more than 9,000 wildfires raged through the state last year, according to Cal Fire, smoky air isn’t anything new. But for businesses…