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As the California wildfire continues to rage on, the number of missing people and death tolls are rising up to alarming amounts. With almost 1,300 people missing and over 80 confirmed deaths, this recent wildfire is set to be one of the deadliest wildfires on record.
Since the start of these fires, – named the Camp Fire, Hill Fire, and The Woolsey Fire – they have destroyed over 100,000 acres of land. Many people had to evacuate, including many celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney Kardashian, Caitlyn Jenner, and Lady Gaga. All the while many homes of those celebrities were also burned down like Camille Grammer’s, Robin Thicke, Gerard Butler, and Shannen Doherty. In South California alone, 75,000 people have been evacuated.
Of course, not all of these individuals are left without a home. There are many companies who are coming up to extend help in any way they can. Most of these companies are non-profit organizations, but AirBnB is just one of the many for profit companies helping with relief efforts for those displaced.
Firefighting effort has still be going hard with all three of these fires now about 70% or more contained by Saturday (with Camp Fire only 50% contained). From firefighters working on the ground to flying above and dropping flame-fighting material. Regardless, many people are utterly devastated by the damage and just from looking at these flames, they knew this was extreme. Even the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management has stated that several communities now will have to be completely rebuilt due to these fires.
Even President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly expressed his dissatisfaction with how fires are being handled and blamed forest mismanagement for these blazes, visited on Saturday. In an interview in one of the many charred mobile home parks, he said, “Hopefully this is going to be the last one of these because it was a really, really bad one.”
But unfortunately that may not be the case looking at the track record of California. Last month alone, California firefighters have had to put out over 500 fires. And a lot of that reason does come down to poor fire mismanagement, but not those present day.
When looking at the science forest fires can only be started two ways: naturally caused or human caused. When we look at natural caused you see fires starting mainly due to lighting or spontaneous combustion from dry leaves or sawdust. The mismanagement stems from the fact that previous firefighters have decided to neglect doing controlled burns in the wilderness year after year and instead opted for less frequent controlled burns. This allowed forests to build up “fuel” in the form of dry leaves on the forest ground. So when a fire does start, it has enough fuel to spread to massive lengths that we are seeing now.
Of course many firefighters are aware of this so it makes sense for Brian K. Rice, the president of California Professional Firefighters to say in a statement “The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and deameaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.” Makes a lot more sense.