Smoke From California’s Fires Is Harming Its Most Vulnerable

The deadliest fire in California’s history continues to burn, and San Francisco is filled with  smoke and ash. For the fifth day in a row on Tuesday, air throughout Northern California contained high amounts of fine particulate matter pollution, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District warned that the air was unhealthy for everyone. “The public should limit outdoor activity as much as possible,” the agency said Monday, urging residents to stay inside with their windows and doors closed.

But for San Francisco’s thousands of homeless people, It’s a warning that is impossible to follow. San Francisco, like many California cities, has seen homelessness rise in recent years as the cost of housing has gone up and zoning laws have limited the construction of new housing units. Despite an initiative passed on Nov. 6 to tax large businesses to fund homeless services and news that the CEO of Twilio donated $1 million to fund homeless services until the tax kicks in, thousands of people still have nowhere to go in San Francisco on any given night. As the number and deadliness of fires grows in California, the population of people negatively impacted by the air quality is growing,

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