Climate change has resulted in a series of unfortunate and inclement weather patterns, and presently the state of California is bearing the brunt of it. More than 1.4 million acres of land have burned across the state and it is only getting worse. There are currently 625 active fires.
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom addressed the wildfires and noted that the state has “deployed every resource at their disposal.” Thousands of firefighters from across california and even neighboring states have volunteered to assist in the fight. The fires are truly unprecedented and hundreds of fire engines have been deployed to help fight the fires. In 2020 there have been more than 7,000 fires and have burned over 1.4 million acres. This is a significant increase from 2019 wherein the state had experienced only 4,292 fires and burned 56,000 acres at the same point of the year.
The intensity of the wildfires this early in the year is indicative of problems that are likely to worsen. Future fires and floods will most likely continue to get more severe. A concerning aspect of the fires is also the type of vegetation that is being burned. Typically wild fires only burn in dry grass areas that had a dry winter. However, with this round of wildfires, the fires have reached nearly every type of terrain. They are burning Joshua trees, redwoods, and coniferous forests– something totally alarming and new. A University of California of Los Angeles climate scientist proclaimed “I actually do not know of any vegetation type that is not on fire in California.”
The biggest fires are taking top priority and are being fought. The largest fire is in the Napa area and has grown to 350,000 acres, but is presently being contained at 22%. The chief of Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit has maintained that they are “making good progress” with the fight, but added that “it is going to take time to put this fire out.”
Fortunately, the redwoods are highly resistant to burning in fires and many will withstand the fire. An expert on the matter has noted that “California has been burning for three to five million years, and trees have evolved in a fire situation to be protected against it.”
It will likely take some time for the fires to be extinguished, as aforementioned. But it is vital that citizens of California take necessary precautions and adhere to evacuation orders and the like.