Wildfires Blaze Western States


Massimo Aguila

A piece of burning debris, such as the one pictured, could easily cause the same wildfires seen in western states due to their dry climate.

Massimo Aguila, Staff Writer

With all of the chaos that has occurred this year, it seems as if the Australian forest fires back in January were centuries ago, many believing that would be the last time there would be news of such devastating blazes. However, these enormous wildfires here in our very own nation have stolen headlines since they started up again in August. One fire in California has spread to over 8,600 acres across the state, and another in Oregon is burning over 1 million acres of land. The west coast is almost notorious for large fires and continues to live up to such expectations. Thousands of residents are being evacuated while dozens of fires ravage the states. Now more than ever, negligence and complacency when it comes to starting and continuing forest fires must be addressed.

Wildfires have always been a major issue to those western states due to their warm, dry, desert-like climates in some regions, which is the breeding ground for the evolution of fires. Right now, northern and central Californians are waking up to orange-tinged skies as street lights remain on and winds continue to fan the flame. In Oregon, black smoke billows upwards in even greater quantities than in California, bringing about a greater sense of panic and destruction than ever.

Wildfires have a lasting impact on the ecosystems in which they take place. While some flames have positive effects, not all do- especially when started in an accidental fashion. This was apparent in the recent Californian El Dorado Fire, caused by a recent gender reveal pyrotechnic device failure that caused excess hot debris to start it. This destruction leads to the ruining of entire habitats of animals, interrupting of food webs, and even the endangering of entire species in some instances. Trees are a vital filter to the air, water, and soil we consume on a daily basis and must be protected along with the wildlife that reside within them. The environmental impact of forest fires can leave irrevocable damage to almost every aspect and system of nature even indirectly affecting ecosystems hundreds of miles away.

“Trees are an important part of nature that provide us with filtered resources as well as habitats for species. That’s why preventing forest fires is so important,” sophomore Diego Gomez said.

Mass blazes not only affect our ecosystems, but also our economy and humans’ lives. It can be clearly seen how about five hundred thousand people in Oregon are being evacuated and more than 30 thousand in California with no guarantee that their homes and their belongings will not burn to the ground should the fire continue to spread. Not only this, but taxpayer money is spent trying to control these fires. California had billions of dollars in programs set to fight these fires, however that money is also put on hold due to COVID-19. State and local governments need to act decisively and cautiously in order to control the situations to prevent further damage.

“I think the governments of the affected regions should move quickly to prevent these types of wildfires from ruining lives and ecosystems in the future,” sophomore Adrian Gonzalez said.

The planet’s health is obviously a prevalent factor in the function of our day to day lives. Negligent actions that may cause harm to the very things preserving it should not be tolerated and should be shot down as quickly as possible. It’s also important to know how to prevent or even spot the beginnings of a blaze and who to contact. Firefighters will continue to battle these western blazes until citizens living in these fiery locations are able to enjoy the safety of their homes once again.