By Laura Phillips
SEATTLE,WA (mocsnews.com)-Smoke from the wildfires burning across California and the Pacific Northwest has caused a drastic drop in air quality.
Residents of these areas have been advised by public health officials to stay inside their homes, keep their windows shut, and set their air conditioners to use recirculated air instead of fresh.
Public health officials have also debated opening up “smoke shelters” for the homeless.
According to an AP News article by Gene Johnson, “The same population that is most vulnerable to the virus is also most vulnerable to the smoke,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan of the situation.
Skies across the Pacific Northwest are now a foggy, gray color due to wind carrying dust, soot, and ash particles to the region. Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, British Columbia, and San Francisco are the major cities found to have the worst air quality on Friday.
The near-microscopic particles are very dangerous to residents of these areas, especially to those with pre-existing health conditions. Some effects of inhaling the particles include: chest pain, coughing, and eye irritation.
Parks, beaches, and boat ramps have been closed throughout Seattle to encourage residents to stay inside. Residents have also been asked to refrain from activities that could make the air quality worse including: driving, lawn mowing, and barbecuing. With most of the fires being nowhere near contained, the smoke is expected to last through the weekend.