Smoke sidelines San Francisco cable cars

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SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Municipal Railway has parked its iconic cable cars due to unhealthy air conditions in the city by the bay. Due to a number of fires burning in the region, MUNI officials are concerned about exposing passengers and employees to smoky air on the open-air cable cars.

Northern California has been ravaged by wildfires in the last week. One blaze, the Camp Fire, has killed at least 63 people and destroyed more than 10,000 structures. More than 600 people are still missing.

MUNI officials say the three cable car routes — the Powell-Mason Line, the Powell-Hyde Line and the California Street Line — will be closed through at least Friday.

As a result of the unhealthy air conditions, Mayor London Breed requested that all Muni service be free on Friday to ensure that all people have access to enclosed transportation.

“By making Muni free, we are allowing people who might need to travel to a respite center, to work or to another destination to have access to transportation without having to expose themselves to smoke outside for a long period of time,” says Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “We are also doing everything we can to protect our employees by ensuring they have the resources they need to be as safe as possible.”

The fires have shut down the Union Pacific between Oroville and Keddie, Calif. and, according to a customer advisory, trains were being detoured around the area.
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