Wildfires Erupt in California

In the month of November, over ten fires have blazed through the Western state.

Leah Boone, Rooster Reporter

California has always been notorious for extreme wildfires, but the ones occurring this month are the worst ever recorded. According to a recent statistic, so far this year, The Golden State has lost 1,627,652 acres of land because of wildfires.

The 2018 fire season is the worst in California in over 15 years with over 70 people dead and at least 1,000 missing.

“The fire season has gotten longer and temperatures have gotten hotter,” Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s Interior secretary said. “State and federal officials have to work more closely together to thin out overgrown forest areas.”

Two of the worst fires burning in California are the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most devastating fire in the state’s history, with the Woolsey Fire following suit.

Overall, the Camp Fire has been burning in Butte County since November 8th, and 150,000 acres of land have been burned. It is 65 percent contained, according to the California Fire Department.

79 deaths have been confirmed because of this fire, and there are 993 citizens missing. Full containment is expected by November 30.

The Woolsey Fire is not as cataclysmic, but has still been very destructive. It is located mostly in Los Angeles and Ventura, with almost 97,000 acres burned down, but it is over 90 percent contained. Only three deaths have occurred because of this fire. The fire should be contained by November 22.

President Trump travelled to California on November 17 to analyze the damage that the Camp Fire has brought upon the state.

“The president not only has signed a presidential declaration giving California substantial funding, but he said and pledged very specifically to continue to help us, that he’s got our back,” California governor Jerry Brown said. “And I thought that was a very positive thing.”

Brown said the economic effect of the wildfires will be extreme, potentially adding up to tens of billions of dollars.

However, money is not the only thing worrying the state during this natural disaster. According to Berkeley Earth, as of the morning of the 16, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Stockton were the three “most polluted cities” in the world.

In the Bay Area of San Francisco, citizens are lining up to acquire face masks to reduce the amount of unhealthy and polluted air they intake. The masks are being called N95 respirators because of their capability to filter 95 percent or more of the airborne pollutants.

Many efforts are being made to help and console the victims. In the city of Lincoln, residents are coming together to help the victims of the fire in Paradise. Paradise City, almost a two hour drive from Lincoln, is one of the most damaged cities from the Camp Fire. The two communities are coming together on Thanksgiving day for a special meal.

Kris Wyatt, a citizen of Lincoln, wanted to do something to help victims of the fire from up north. She started by going on social media and asking leaders in the community as well as her friends about their Thanksgiving plans. She hoped she could find a few people to welcome evacuees into their homes, but the results she got were way larger than anticipated.

City leadership is willing to provide one of the biggest buildings in the community, the Mcbean Pavilion, for the meal. Lincoln’s fire department donated over 100 turkeys, wineries offered wine, and a local bakery offered 100 pumpkin pies.

“I’m overwhelmed by it,” Wyatt said. “Everyone is offering volunteering, doing table decorations and making signs.”

Not only are communities and people doing their best to help the victims of the wildfire, the forecast for later this week has its own benefits.

A flash flood warning has been issued in Northern California, as four to six inches of rain are expected to fall from now until Friday. The precipitation will help put out the fires and relieve the firefighters, but it could also bring potential damage.

The chances of downpours could decrease the risk of fires spreading or starting, or better yet end the fire season altogether. However, many citizens are afraid that the storms could cause flash floods and mudslides. These natural disasters could obliterate what’s left of the communities affected by the wildfires.

“Rapidly rising water could flood roads, hampering search efforts and putting displaced residents camping outdoors in peril,” Gene Norman, CNN meteorologist said.

California has endured many hardships over the last three weeks. However, many efforts are being made to provide help for victims and ensure the state’s rapid recovery. While this fire is a tragedy, it has shown the capability of people to come together and support their neighbors in their time of need.