California Wildfires 2020
Thousands of fires have been spreading through California for the past weeks. Fires have been going on in California for decades and this is the fourth year in a row of a major conflagration. What’s different about this year’s fire from the previous years is that the fire is happening in places it usually doesn’t happen. California has variable topography and different types of vegetation. Different parts of California have different normal fire seasons. Another rare factor is that most of the fires were caused by a lightning storm, which hasn’t happened in over a decade. The fire is also not aided by the wind, which is a huge contributor to fueling fires.
Fires are started from human resources like power lines, arson, neglected fires, and more. Many of the fires were started by a massive dry lightning storm last week, where there were up to 11,000 lightning strikes in just three days. Other factors are the extremely warm weather patterns, incredibly dry conditions, an unusual amount of humidity causing the lightning storms, suppressing naturally occurring fires so that fuel accumulates, increasingly invasive and ready to burn species, placing buildings near places that are prone to burn, and finally climate change. Many negative events caused by these fires have devastated many people living in California. Some people have had to evacuate their homes and most Californians’ homes are weak, one-story, ranch-style houses which are made with the knowledge that people will not be in their homes most of the time.
People have lost electricity. Among these groups, schools have been one group largely impacted by the fires. Schools have had to make adjustments due to the fires and COVID. Another group largely impacted by these fires are farmworkers, who do not have the luxury to stop their work and escape the treacherous heat and the horrible air. For the workers who get paid at piece rates, it is crucial that they work as fast as they can.
Another really big effect is the disgusting air that was created from the fire. The fire had created smoke, soot, and ash that enveloped Northern California. The air even reached several points in the last week where it was the dirtiest in the world. The air has caused people to stay inside their homes, with their windows shut and ash falling on the driveway.
There are currently 7, 175 incidents, 1,660, 332 acres burned, 7 fatalities and 2, 492 structures damaged or destroyed.
Two of the largest fires are the LNU Lightning Complex and the SCU Lightning Complex. The LNU Lightning Complex has already burned through 369, 935 acres and is only 35% contained.
Research Coordinator - Jezreel
Editor - Priyam