by Madhumita Kannan ’22
Published Oct. 6th, 2020
Only in 2020 would a baby gender reveal cause a whole state to catch on fire and impact the rest of the world. Other conditions, such as strong winds and high temperatures, have fanned the flames, but the fire was ignited by the gender reveal’s smoke-generating fireworks. As California approached its summer season, the remaining moisture in the environment and the dryness of the environment began to take over due to the lack of rainfall and the dried out fuels. This is the exact reason why all it takes is a tiny spark to set an entire state on fire.
More than two million acres have burned and continue to burn, making it the record year for California’s wildfires. According to a press release from Cal Fire, the department of forestry and fire protection, more than 8,500 structures were impacted across Sonoma, Lake, and Napa counties. 70,000 people were ordered to evacuate Napa and Sonoma counties and within the first night, the fire spread to one new acre every five seconds. Fires also burned in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Bernardino. Today, the fire continues to spread in St. Helena and Santa Rosa. However, all of California is affected by these fires, as 3.2 million acres have burned so far.
The fires have released toxic smoke into the air, which is polluting the environment. Not only does the fire leave an extreme amount of carbon in the atmosphere, but it also carries the toxic chemicals up to thousands of miles. The air quality has already gone to dangerous levels in not only California but also in Oregon and Washington. The foundation that plants and animals rely on is being destroyed, leaving them helpless.
Firefighters are working extremely hard to do whatever they can to contain these fires. More than 14,000 firefighters have been battling the fires across the state, but the task is difficult even with the help of helicopters and years’ worth of professional training.
The forest fires have impacted our environment drastically, and it will most probably take years for the environment to be remotely stable again, but it might come to a point where the environment needs to adjust to a new “normal.” In conclusion, the forest fires are an example of how something seemingly minimal can spiral out of control.