Seattle to open smoke shelters for 'new normal' summer fires

  • Source: KING-TV NBC 5 Seattle
  • Published: 06/20/2019 12:00 AM

Ahead of a wildfire season expected to be again worse than average, officials in Seattle announced Wednesday that five city buildings would be outfitted to serve as havens where residents can go to breathe clean air. The move is in response to several years marked by thick smoke hanging over the city from summer wildfires, which officials and scientists have unequivocally connected to the slow-motion of the effects of climate change. Seattle officials demonstrated the technology at one of the havens — a community center in the city's Rainier Beach neighborhood — pointing out air sensors mounted on the wall, and describing how the building's existing ventilation system had been retrofitted with special filters to keep it positively pressurized with clean air. Along with the Rainier Beach facility, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said at least two of the facilities could potentially be scaled up to shelter the city's homeless population if air quality sinks far enough during the summer to endanger those unable to retreat indoors.


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