Update on the California Wildfires

The wildfires in California that began in mid-October have slowly taken over many areas. There are currently a few fires still active, but a lot have been contained due to our hardworking firefighters. Here’s the latest on what has happened with the California wildfires along with some ideas on why they keep happening.

Losses

The wildfires spreading in California are the deadliest ever in the state. At the time of the article, there are currently three active fires in California. The most recent Camp Fire which has torn its way through Paradise, California is only 65 percent contained. Seventy-seven fatalities have occurred due to the Camp Fire and over 900 people are still missing. According to CBS news, the Woolsey fire has taken at least 3 people’s lives as it travels west of Los Angeles and into parts of Malibu. This fire is 91 percent contained and firefighters are hopeful to get it under control by late November. The Hill Fire in Ventura Country is 90 percent contained and has charred about 4500 acres. Around 25,000 people have been left without power due to this fire, and veterans are comparing the scene to war zones. With large fires comes to smoke, and most of the air in the Bay Area has been deemed unhealthy. Poor air quality can lead to health problems especially in older adults and younger children with asthma, bronchitis or lung diseases.  

Why Does This Keep Happening?

Wildfires have been an annual occurrence in California, usually after long, dry summers. According to Time magazine, there are two main reasons why these  California wildfires are becoming more and more deadly. Due to climate change, California is becoming hotter as the years progress. The intensity of the hot dry summers creates “ideal wildfire conditions”. The long warming period also increases the possibility of intense droughts which often lead to wildfires.

 

Climate change is not the only reason to blame for the increase in wildfires. People are just as much to blame. People in California are migrating towards high-risk fire zones. The Camp Fire burned through the city of Paradise which is the second largest city in Butte County. The Woolsey fire also caused cities like Malibu and Calabasas to evacuate as it moved on to charr certain areas west of Los Angeles. Time magazine states, “California’s population increasingly lives in proximity to high-risk fire corridors… As a result, wildfires that can devastate settled areas have become more frequent.” According to a 2017 risk analysis by Verisk, “15% — or over two million — of California’s homes are concentrated in high or extremely high wildfire risk zones. Another 12 percent are located in moderate risk areas. This means more than a quarter of the state’s homes are at moderate to an extremely high risk of being ravaged in an annual wildfire.”

 

Continue to stay informed on the California wildfires.