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The tradeoff of a grey Seattle winter has always been its bluebird summers. But for the last three years, smoke has drifted into the city from huge wildfires burning in the drier parts of Canada and the Cascade Mountains, first blurring and then completely obscuring the city’s famous views in every direction.This is the worst year yet. University of Washington weather expert Cliff Mass reported that, on Monday afternoon, a Puget Sound Clean Air Agency site in the city recorded the highest levels of smoke for a one-hour period since monitoring began about two decades ago. Last Wednesday, he reported that two spots in the region had recorded the worst 24 hours of air quality on record for either spot.As the chronically smoggy Chinese megacity of Beijing enjoyed “moderate” breathing conditions Monday, some areas around Puget Sound saw the air downgraded to “unhealthy” for everyone. With that rating has come a minor panic, as the region bends around the hazards of the smoke as it might for a blizzard in the winter.Pacific Supply Hardware, in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, sold out of breathing masks Monday morning. Other stores reported that their inventories were dwindling, or that they had upped orders to accommodate the demand. In a city short on air conditioning, some residents have begun taping air filters to their window fans. The Sounders, Seattle’s pro soccer team, cancelled outdoor summer camps. County health departments called on people to skip their outside exercise and urged schools and daycares to move their activities indoors. At Sea-Tac Airport, planes were delayed for up to two hours due to low visibility.Tourists taking the golden elevators to the top of the iconic Space Needle found the rotating viewing deck, but not the trademark views of the Olympic Mountains or Mt. Rainier. Even the south end of Seattle’s downtown was shrouded in murk.