By Asmita Saha
Now more than ever, wildfires are perpetually burning across the West Coast, causing California and nearby states to fall into a great deal of turmoil. These fires have been ripping through wildlands, cities, towns, and rural neighborhoods.
“I’ve seen people on social media having to evacuate their homes because of the fires. It’s terrible,” said eighth grader Christina Tsigos.
These fires began due to a variety of reasons: the highly flammable Californian ecosystem, fire suppression, frequent droughts, accidental and intentional fire starting, and finally, climate change.
Artwork by Shadia Zayer
The California fires have forced many people from their homes as well as devastated much of the local wildlife.
Climate studies have shown that as temperatures continue to rise, the atmosphere and land in regions like California will grow dryer. More frequent droughts in forests lead to more intense rain. This causes a large growth of underbrush which will subsequently dry out because of the droughts, causing the increase of flammable kindling.
“These devastatingly irreversible mistakes will most likely have lasting effects on the environment and wildlife...”
There are many reasons why wildfires are so devastating and hard to manage. The dry climate and the fact that fires can only be fought from the outside is what makes fighting them especially difficult. Additionally, size is one of the main factors that determine how well a fire can be contained.
These huge wildfires have greatly impacted the environment. Though wildfires are usually a major part of the ecosystem on the West Coast, the recent plague of fires has caused widespread destruction. Fires can be vicious and deadly, destroying homes, wildlife habitats, timber, and polluting the air with chemicals harmful to human health.
The increase in fires means another thing too: climate change caused by humans is accelerating. Some fires, such as the infamous El Dorado fire, were a result of human ignorance and mistakes. These devastating, irreversible mistakes will most likely have lasting effects on the environment and wildlife. Most of these fires have been caused by an increase in temperature and loss in humidity, as well as heavy winds rustling dry plants together. These changes triggered by mankind will cause issues for humans and wildlife alike.
Surely there are solutions to these issues, but experts say that any immediate solution will be futile unless California and the rest of the world dramatically change their approach to climate change.
“I’m sure we could come to an agreement. There is one Earth. We have to learn how to live with it. Hopefully, everything has a positive outcome, and everyone turns out okay,” said eighth grader Steven Sibrian.