California Wildfires

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California Wildfires

Tony Ureste, Contributor

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Throughout the history of California, natural disasters have been known to cause chaos for long time residents and tourist all over the state. Aside from the earthquakes and sinkholes, one of the most devastating disasters are the wildfires that occur in the state. In the past few years there have been reports of over 65,000 fires in California alone. “As of 2019, over 5,136 fires have been recorded”, according to Cal Fire and the US Forest Service. With the 3 most devastating being; The Camp Fire, which burned 153,336 acres of land, and killed 86 people. The Carr Fire, which burned over 229,651 acres of land, and killed 8 people. The Thomas Fire, burning 281,893 acres of land, and killing 2 people. And many more fires that cause billions of dollars worth of damage, and causing fatal effects on people, and the surrounding environment.

The most recent fire, and debatably the most devastating would be the Kinkade Fire, surrounding Santa Rose and currently engulfing the town of Healdsburg. The fire is reported to have burned more than 55,000 acres, with the fire being 5% contained overall. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but climate experts say the planet’s warming trend is a key factor. Although other experts in different fields are stating that this rise in the fire trend, is only natural, “Critical fire weather conditions of this level occur in California once every five to 10 years”, says meteorologist Liz Leitman of the Storm Prediction Center. Other sources say that with the winds in California reaching 100 mph, it could also impact the rate the fire spreads.

The fires also had an impact on the Pacific Gas & Electric company. With massive amounts of energy being consumed to put out the fires and people evacuating, the company and surrounding areas have been affected by rolling blackouts. The cause of the black outs could also relate to snapped power lines from fires, which could be problematic for nearby areas by causing more fires and leaving thousands of people without power.

With the massive fires approaching nearby towns at an exponential rate, the officials of the town of announced massive evacuations. The entire communities of Healdsburg and Windsor were ordered to evacuate ahead of strong winds that could lead to massive fire behavior near the blaze burning in wine country. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said it would be the biggest evacuation in the county in more than 25 years, with an estimated 50,000+ evacuated to safety. With this going on, both Uber and Lyft have been willing to offer free* rides for the evacuees to safety.

With the massive fires burning away the state, many people are pondering what the state government plans to do for the future. A resident in California, who was a victim to the Kinkade fire stated that, “I’m tired of these fires burning away my state and my home, with so many fires going on it’s starting to feel normal, I don’t want this to be normal”. With this ongoing fight from fire, the states governor has plans for the future, but wants to focus on the locals and first respondents fighting this hard battle.

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/28/california-wildfire-kinkade-fire-new-normal-blackouts-frustration/2482144001/

https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/california-fires-los-angeles-october-2019/index.html

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/How-California-s-biggest-wildfires-ignited-13907244.php

https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Wildfire_Health_-_Safety/Current/

https://time.com/5711521/new-evacuations-california-wildfire/

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