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Multiple Wildfires Have Devastating Effects in California

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Multiple Wildfires Have Devastating Effects in California

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For those of us who live in the Midwest, wildfires are not a typical concern. But for those who live in the West, especially California and other dry states around it, wildfires occur often and are usually devastating to many people. Wildfires usually start in rural, dry areas but can spread quickly into large urban areas and affect thousands of people.

Over the past few weeks, there have been two major wildfires occurring in the state of California. The Woolsey Fire, which is predominantly located in Los Angeles County and Ventura County in the southern part of the state, and Camp Fire, located in Butte County in the northern part of the state are still occurring. A third fire, the Hill Fire, located near the Woolsey Fire, was stopped on November 16.

The Woolsey Fire broke out on November 8, 2018, at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Ventura County, California. Powerful winds spread the fire quickly and by the morning of November 10, 3,242 firefighters were deployed to the region, which already encompassed 70,000 acres. As of November 28, 2018, the fire has burned over 98,362 acres of land, destroyed 1,130 structures, killed 3 people, and has led to the evacuation of over 295,000 people. However, the fire was 100 percent contained by the evening of November 21.

Camp Fire broke out on November 8, 2018, the same day as the Woolsey and Hill Fires. The start of the fire is unknown but was first reported around sunrise on November 8. Almost immediately, firefighters were dispatched and evacuations were ordered for the cities of Paradise and Concow. However, the fire spread so rapidly that many residents were unable to evacuate before the fire arrived. By the morning of November 10, the fire had grown to the size of 100,000 acres and an estimated 6,713 structures had already been destroyed by the fires. As of November 28, the fire has caused 88 civilian fatalities, injured 12 civilians and 5 firefighters, destroyed 18,793 structures, and caused around $19 billion in damages. On November 25, the fire reached 100 percent containment.

In addition, there has been some controversy surrounding the fires and remarks by President Donald Trump. After the fires began, Trump blamed poor forest management by the state of California for the fires and threatened to end federal assistance to the state. He went on to claim that “[Finland] spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don’t have any problem,” suggesting that this problem could have easily been avoided. Fire experts refuted his claims, saying that the abnormal dryness in the region caused the fires and Brian Rice, president of the California Professional Firefighters, noted the sixty percent of California forests are directly managed by the federal government.

Although the situation is devastating there is hope for the victims. The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not directly accept donations but is working closely with several organizations including the California Fire Foundation, United Way (Los Angeles) and United Way of Northern California, North Valley Community Foundation, and the Ventura County Community Foundation. Also, The Red Cross is asking for any volunteers that can help, as well as blood donations for those injured in the fire. Groups such as the Salvation Army and Airbnb have been providing temporary shelters for evacuees until they are able to return home or they find a more permanent place to stay. While the situation is disastrous, there is clearly hope for the future of those affected by the fires and the communities in which they lived.

About the Writer
Joey Shrader, Reporter

Joey Shrader is seventeen years old and a senior at Adams. This is his first year as a reporter for The Tower. He is very excited to be a part of The Tower...

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Multiple Wildfires Have Devastating Effects in California