Two giant wildfires are scorching California right now, killing dozens and forcing entire cities to evacuate. But people not in the direct path of flames aren’t free from danger: Smoke from the fires has made the air hazardous to breathe in many areas, particularly in Northern California.
In San Francisco, the air was so smoky that health experts warned everyone to stay indoors all day Friday. Schools were closed, as were open-air cable cars, and museums opened their doors for free to provide refuge. With the Bay Area Air Quality Management District warning that the conditions could last until at least Tuesday, authorities have recommended people wear masks if they go outside, although many stores were sold out.
But fear not, people have found creative ways to deal with the situation, from entrepreneurial side gigs and DIY air filters to fundraisers and donation campaigns.
Let us review:
One Uber driver in San Francisco was selling masks out of their car for $5 each.
An organization called Mask Oakland used Venmo to crowdsource $15,000 in donations for respirators for people who couldn’t afford them.
So far, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the group has handed out 4,000 masks and ordered 9,000 more with the donations. The company 3M, which manufactures respirators, also donated 380,000 of them to the Red Cross.
One woman wrote on Instagram that she started crying when she found out the air purifier company Molekule had donated some its wares to her daughter’s school.
Molekule also wrote on Instagram that it had donated purifiers to a Veterans Affairs clinic in Chico, California, and to a church that served as an evacuation center in the same city in response to the deadly Camp fire. Neither Molekule nor the mother immediately responded to request for comment.