With the death toll increasing and number of acres burning, 2018 stands as the year with one of the most deadliest and destructive wildfire seasons in California. The rising temperatures and climate change have exacerbated conditions for fire.
Currently, firefighters have been battling two major wildfires. The Camp fire has destroyed approximately 9,700 homes and scorched 146,000 acres. As of November 16, the death toll for the Camp fire is 71. Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire has destroyed 548 structures in Los Angeles and Ventura countries with the death toll of 59.
Minju Kim, a junior at Academy of the Canyons, states, “It is a huge problem that fires break out continuously and annually in California and ridiculous how the fires keep breaking new records of the amount of land burned and number of victims in the scene. I am in a blanket-making club called Project Linus, and we are helping out the ones who were evacuated by providing them a free blanket. I believe those kinds of organizations should be more involved with the society and current news. That way, those organizations can help the situation with their abilities.”
Thousands of homes in Paradise, California were completely destroyed, and those who fled are now left with nothing in their hands. Right now, these people need food, shelter, and safety. Soon, they will need new homes. Due to the damage and destruction that the Camp and Woolsey fires created, there will be a cost of $8.6 billion to rebuild the lost homes.
The Camp fire blew smoke more than 200 miles away, causing serious health risks and leading to widespread school closures until December 3. The number of sick people is increasing every day because of the heavily polluted air.
To add insult to injury, President Donald Trump blamed California’s wildfires on the mismanagement of forests. In an interview with Fox News, Trump stated, “You need management…I’m not saying that in a negative way, a positive – I’m just saying the facts.” This echoes Trump’s tweet, in which he threatened to withhold federal payments to California and claimed its forest management is “so poor.” On November 17, Trump is scheduled to visit the demolished town.
Holly Bae, Grade 9
La Cañada High School