Seattle, San Francisco opening shelters for homeless to get relief from unhealthy air amid wildfires
Skies in multiple cities were ominous shades of red and orange from the raging wildfires
Wildfires burning up and down the West Coast have polluted the air, prompting some cities to form emergency shelters to shield homeless people.
Seattle has been blanketed by smoke from the fires, leading to a high Air Quality Index rating of 197, an "unhealthy" rating by the Environmental Protection Agency.
As a result, the city of Seattle is opening a temporary shelter where homeless people can get some respite from the smoky air. But the coronavirus pandemic has complicated the city's ability to offer assistance to the homeless.
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"It’s a balance we have to strike, taking COVID protocols into consideration for any mass/indoor shelter," a city of Seattle spokesperson told Fox News. "Seattle & King County has advised that agencies should open facilities only if they possess high-quality air filtration systems and if they can comply with public health guidance as it relates to temperature, screening, social distancing, capacity restrictions, face coverings, and other health and hygiene measures."
The air quality in San Francisco was even worse Friday, hitting 228 on the Air Quality Index, which is rated as "very unhealthy."
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The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management has opened four relief centers for homeless people.
The Bay Area is also still taking precautions against coronavirus.
"There will be a health screening at these sites before entering; face coverings & physical distance required as COVID-19 is still a threat in SF. Masks will be provided for those who do not have one," the SF Department of Emergency Management said Friday.
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Skies lit up in ominous, surreal tints of red and orange this week as wildfires continued to rage in California.
Dozens of wildfires are currently raging across California, Oregon and Washington, forcing at least 600,000 people to flee their homes.