By: Tejal Patel
The damaging effects of wildfires in California have left lasting impacts on the trees, state park, and people’s lives. From destroying giant trees to desomating millions of acres, fires have become one of California’s worst enemies. California has been under a cruel siege caused by the wild and burning flames from countless fires. As one of the effects of climate change, its continuous and increasing turmoil is destroying the earth as a whole and its constituents.
How does Climate change have an impact on the wildfires? Climate change is one of the main factors that cause wildfires. As warmer temperatures increase due to the greenhouse gases being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, it will also increase the chance of wildfires. An increase in temperature causes soil and other vegetation to become drier which can act as fuel to raging fires and enlarge their force.
The image is from one of NASA’s satellites, its ASTER instrument captured the wildfires from California in 2020. The burned areas are the gray color and vegetation is in red.
How does climate change have an impact on the wildfires? Climate change is one of the main factors that cause wildfires. As warmer temperatures increase due to the greenhouse gases being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, it will also increase the chance of wildfires. An increase in temperature causes soil and other vegetation to become drier which can act as fuel to raging fires and enlarge their force.
The rise of warmer temperatures in addition to less rainfall can cause lightening, which also can start fires. Not only does climate change increase the chance of wildfires, but also does human’s actions, like a gender reveal party. During 2020, a family in southern California caused a fire that burned nearly 10,000 acres from a pyrotechnic device for their gender reveal party. Known as the El Dorado Fire, the dangerous fire led to evacuation for residents and horrible air quality.
According to Cal Fire, California “had been struck by 9,639 fire incidents, burning 4.1 million acres, killing 31 people and damaging more than 10,400 structures.” In 2020, around 4% of California will burn and it's known to be the year of the worse wildfires for the state.
The fires have not stopped even in winter, and may never in the future! They are still burning precious acres full of sequoia and redwood trees. In August 2020, a wildfire destroyed approximately 40,000 acres in the Mojave National Preserve, burning and removing millions of Joshua trees. Not only were Joshua trees burned, but many other plants and trees like Sequoia trees, which take 2,000 years to wait to grow. Since the fires defiled these great trees, it will take many, many years for them to be the same as they were.
Ever since the countless horrific wildfires that have harmed California, its effects have damaging consequences. It is necessary that we work together to help combat these disasters. It may feel like there isn’t much to do, but there is! Look down below to find ways you can help, even in the smallest ways, to people, animals, and the environment:
How to prevent wildfires:
- Remove combustibles (firewood, fuel cans, solvents, paints) from your backyard
- Shut off propane, gas, or fuel oil
- Look at National Geographic on what you can help prevent wildfires: link
Volunteer to distribute clothes/food at shelters or food banks:
- Look at this link to find local food banks near you!
- An example of one food bank in the bay area is the San Francisco Marin Food Bank. They help distribute food at a pop-up pantry. Here is the link to help aid them in their efforts.
- Look at this link to find local shelters near you!
- Look at this link to find local evacuation centers!
Wildfires also destroy many habitats and affect the lives of many animal
There are many organizations that can help animals in need. Here are a couple:
- Sonoma County Animal Services (sonomacounty.ca.gov)
- Sonoma County Fair and Event center (sonomacountyfair.com)
- Glenn County Fairgrounds (glenncountyfair.org)
How to help the Big Basin:
- You can make donations to help the recovery efforts at the Big Basin in the Santa Cruz Mountains at sempervirens.org. The Big basin, an 118 year old state park, was strongly affected by an intense wildfire that defiled California’s precious redwood trees.