California’s Hottest Season

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Rosa Shvartsman, Staff Writer

The forest fires are the worst disaster in California since I was elected,” said the former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger. California has dealt with wildfires dating back to 1932, but the most severe and life-threatening have occurred during the 2000s. In addition, California is constantly dealing with a years-long drought causing soil moisture to deplete, and vegetation to dry out making the land more prone to combustion. Apart from this, though as many fires have occurred due to climate change, humans have also been the main cause of these dangerous wildfires.

In 2021 alone, 2,495,889 acres of land was burned due to wildfires and there have been 8,239 incidents, and 3 confirmed to have lost their lives as a result. Lastly, 3,629 structures were damaged or destroyed. This year has been known as California’s hottest year due to wildfires becoming hotter and spreading faster than ever. “The main reason that these fires are getting so large so quickly is the fact that the land fuels are so dry. We have unprecedented dryness in our forests because of the drought. And that leads to more heat release. And with more heat release, they spread faster,” said SJSU Professor Craig Clements.  California has been heavily affected by climate change, hence the warmer springs and summer temperature, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt. These examples in have created an everlasting, intense dry season that then increases moisture distress on vegetation which makes forests more susceptible to wildfires. In addition, California and most of the western states in the U.S are in the midst of a years-long drought which prevents plants from holding onto large amounts of moisture which then causes plants to kindle moisture and dry out. On the other hand, the blame for California wildfires also has to do with human impact.

“You also have the human contribution to wildfire, which includes the warming that has been caused by greenhouse gas emissions and the accompanying increased drying. Both contribute to creating a situation favorable to wildfire,” said Dr.Oakley. Following climate change, human impact on the environment has tremendously affected the ecosystem. Due to the dry season, one single spark may come off at the wrong time and ignite a fire that’s inclined to burn longer than intended. Studies show that human actions have caused ignition to be blamed for approximately 84% of all wildfires in the United States and of that percentage, 97% of those fires have threatened homes. Human sparked fires are more dangerous to the world as they typically spread to about 1.83 kilometers per day, which is twice as fast than lightning-induced burns which spread .83 kilometers. “These human-caused fires have a disproportionate impact on the ecosystem,” said Hanton. For example, a gender reveals sadly went wrong due to a smoke detector going off which then spread into a wildfire. Devastatingly, this fire consumed thousands of acres of east Los Angeles over Labor day weekend. Following this, it shows how human actions, along with climate change, have affected California and left them in heat throughout the years with recurring wildfires. 

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” said Helen Keller. If we want to stop the recurring wildfires in California we need to band together and help each other find a solution to the cause.

 

In conclusion, California has been facing a devastating time as homes are being destroyed and land is being burned due to these wildfires. In addition, climate change hasn’t helped the spread of the fires due to change in vegetation levels leaving it extremely effortless to spark an endless fire. Lastly, if you want to donate to replenish the cost for destroyed homes and businesses and burnt land The Salvation Army, the American Red Cross, and the California Disaster Help and Information Center all accept donations to help with the cost.