California Wildfires Cause Severe Damage and Air Pollution

Every summer, the western United States gets hot and dry, meaning that wildfires plague the headlines. Many of them happen in California, which is understandable since temperatures frequently reach triple digits there. Consequently, high temperatures and low rainfall result in a drying out of the land. In these conditions, almost anything can spark a wildfire, and when everything is dry, the flames spread quickly.

The Carr and Ferguson Wildfires

There are over a dozen wildfires raging in California right now, but the main two are the Carr and Ferguson fires. The Carr wildfire is outside of the city of Redding, and the Ferguson wildfire is near El Portal in Yosemite National Park. Each has been devastating, not just for the people of California, but people multiple states away.

Carr Wildfire Statistics

Here are the current statistics for the Carr wildfire.

  • The wildfire has burned over 121,049 acres.
  • As over this morning (August 2), the fire is 35 percent contained.
  • The number of structures destroyed includes 1,060 homes, 18 commercial buildings, and 477 outbuildings (barns, sheds, separated garages, etc.).
  • The number of damaged structures includes 186 homes, 8 commercial buildings, and 64 outbuildings.
  • The fire threatens over 1,600 more structures.
  • The fire sparked on July 23 due to the mechanical failure of a vehicle.
  • About 4,271 firemen are currently fighting the wildfire.
  • So far, 6 people have died, which includes two firefighters. Twenty people were missing, but 16 have been found.

Ferguson Wildfire Statistics

Here are the current statistics for the Ferguson wildfire.

  • This fire started on July 13 due to an unknown cause.
  • It has burned 68,610 acres and is 39 percent contained.
  • The fire has destroyed 10 structures.
  • Two people have died and 11 are injured.
  • The number of personnel engaged in fighting the fire number 3,344 people.
  • Certain areas in Yosemite National Park will remain closed through August 5 due to the amount of smoke in the area.

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Image Source: Pixabay

Wildfires Create Air Pollution

Anyone who has experienced wildfires can attest that the fires create a lot of smoke. It fills the air and creates a great amount of air pollution, which is a health hazard. Some sources claim that the smoke from the California fires has reached as far as Salt Lake City, Utah, and others claim that it has gone as far as Oklahoma.

Because wildfires burn a large amount of material, it sends sooty smoke into the atmosphere, which contains harmful gases and microscopic particles. When inhaled, it causes shortness of breath and coughing. It can also cause a stinging in the eyes. On a more severe note, wildfire smoke can trigger asthma attacks and lead to heart problems and cancer.

What We Can Do

Though we all cannot go an physically fight the fires ourselves, there are other ways we can help. Wildfires have only gotten worse in recent years, so we need to do all we can to prevent them. We need to practice fire safety when camping or dealing with open flames and sparks outside. If you live in the western United States, be aware that vehicles and firearms can also generate a spark that can quickly spread across the dry ground during the summer months. We can also limit the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we cause to lower the air pollution we already have. This way, we can have a safe and healthy summer.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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