City of Seattle Wildfire Smoke Update: Beaches, Boat Ramps, Parks, and Playfields Remain Closed Through Wednesday

City of Seattle COVID-19 Testing Sites Plan to Reopen Tuesday, September 15

Seattle (September 14, 2020) – The City of Seattle is continuing to work with partners across the region to monitor and respond to the dual health crises of COVID-19 and wildfire smoke. The City is currently experiencing some ‘very unhealthy’ levels of smoke and particulate in the air, with the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency forecasting that Seattle will continue to experience ‘unhealthy’ to ‘very unhealthy’ air quality into Wednesday. The City of Seattle will continue to monitor air quality and update the public on any potential future impacts to operations. Residents are encouraged to sign up for Alert Seattle for updates and emergency notifications.

Please review the below list of updates for information on the City’s wildfire smoke operations modifications.

Department of Neighborhoods (DON): Due to unhealthy air quality, DON will postpone its series of Census Pop-Up events originally scheduled for Wednesday, September 16. All residents are encouraged to fill out their Census by the September 30 deadline. Residents can fill out their Census online at https://2020census.gov/en.html. Residents can also complete their Census questionnaire by phone or mail.

Human Services Department (HSD): On Friday, September 11, HSD partnered with the King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS), Public Health – Seattle & King County, Public Health Reserve Corps, and the Salvation Army to open an emergency smoke shelter at 1045 6th Avenue S. The smoke shelter will remain open through Wednesday morning, September 16. King County DCHS and Public Health – Seattle & King County will make the determination on extending the shelter based off of air quality conditions. The City’s role is providing outreach and services to the facility. More information is available on the County’s website.

Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA): OIRA continues to post updated in-language wildfire smoke information in Amharic, Chinese (Traditional), Korean, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese on Twitter and Facebook. Residents can also find translated air quality information at https://welcoming.seattle.gov/2020smoke/.

Seattle Center: The public restrooms at Seattle Center will remain closed through Wednesday, September 16, as the restrooms lack air conditioning or air filtration systems and must be monitored by Seattle Center staff. Seattle Center has placed portable toilets on the grounds as a temporary substitute. 

Seattle Fire Department (SFD): The City of Seattle’s free COVID-19 testing sites plan to be open Tuesday, September 15. The City of Seattle free testing locations are:

  • Aurora drive-through site (12040 Aurora Ave N)
  • SoDo drive-through site (3820 6th Ave South)
  • Rainier Beach High School walk-up site (8815 Seward Park Ave S) 
  • South West Athletic Complex walk-up (2801 SW Thistle Street)  

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR): Due to unhealthy air quality, SPR is extending the closure of all beaches boat ramps, parks, specialty gardens, golf courses, and playfields through Wednesday, September 16. Restrooms in parks will remain open. The City is not issuing citations, but all residents are strongly encouraged to avoid outdoor recreation and remain inside if they are able for the duration of the unhealthy air quality.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU): SPU will extend the closure of Rattlesnake Lake Recreation Area through Wednesday due to air quality concerns. Rattlesnake Ledge Trail remains closed until further notice.

The Seattle Public Library (SPL): SPL is making the following operational adjustments for Tuesday, September 15:

  • No Curbside Pickup Service. Patrons with appointments will be contacted by the Library for rescheduling.
  • Book returns will be accepted from noon to 6 p.m. at the following locations that have air conditioning: Central Library, Ballard Branch, Douglass -Truth Branch, Broadview Branch, High Point Branch Lake City Branch and Rainier Beach Branch.
  • Restroom Service will be offered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Central Library, Ballard Branch, Beacon Hill Branch and Capitol Hill Branch, which have air conditioning.
  • Please call 206-386-4636 or visit the Library website at www.spl.org before visiting should air quality conditions change.

Public Health – Seattle & King County advises all those who are able to stay inside for the duration of the unhealthy air quality. All those who have asthma or other respiratory conditions should take care to have their inhaler and other relevant medications. If a person with existing health conditions experiences a worsening of their condition due to the unhealthy air, they should contact their health care provider immediately.

It’s important to note that cloth face coverings – while critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 – generally do not provide much protection from unhealthy air quality. N95 and N100 masks offer slightly better protection against unhealthy air quality, however, those should continue to be reserved for health care workers and first responders addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents should regularly check Puget Sound Clean Air Agency for updates on air quality. For information about COVID-19, including in multiple languages, visit www.kingcounty.gov/COVID.

The Seattle Fire Department urges the public to take steps to prevent additional fires from starting, to include properly discarding of smoking materials and ensuring vehicles don’t create sparks. Read more on the Fireline Blog.