People were left devastated after the raging fire continuously consumed 7,928,100 acres of North America—that is 1.4 million acres more compared to the 10-year average. Though many have anticipated that urban California is on its way to its “fire season”, everyone was overwhelmed by the omnipresent fires that woke them up that day (and it was nothing they have seen before). The fires may have been suppressed as of now but we can’t expect people to recuperate that fast. We can all still see the damages brought about by this disaster. Foreseen dangers are still at hand but for now, here are 5 unnerving impacts of this horrific 2020 California wildfire:
The Government has exhausted all their financial resources to contain these fires but for them to succeed, a much larger amount of money must be allotted. The expenditures for this year’s fire suppression has increased 16% of the agency’s allocated budget (that’s also 50% more compared in 2017). The nationwide fire suppression costs in 2017 and 2018 inflated to $2.9 billion and $3.1 billion respectively.
The increasing number of residents in wildlands are getting more prone to property and health risks. Though some may notice the immediate effects of it, others may experience the lasting impact of wildfires on their health. Children and elderly people are the most vulnerable ones. The moment they inhale the toxic air brought by the forest fires, they are susceptible to various respiratory illnesses. The thick smoke can also be harmful to our eyes and could cause serious health damages in the long-run. Wildfires can also have a significant effect on everyone’s mental health as it causes fear and traumatic stress. These are very common especially for first responders, emergency workers, and other people who are on the frontlines.
If these fires are very much harmful to us humans, how much more to the wildlife. Wildfires tend to hasten ecosystem changes and emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide polluting the air and damaging the atmosphere and natural habitats of forest animals. These abrupt changes to the environment greatly contribute to the evolving issue of climate change.
According to studies, our drinking water is also greatly affected by wildfires because experts have known for years that runoff from burned houses can put harmful chemicals into reservoirs and groundwater.
Above all the things on this list, this is the most devastating impact of this year’s wildfire. We could only just imagine the horrifying scenario of staring at your homes being gradually consumed by fire. These are the kinds of damages that'll take a long time to recover. Experiencing the loss of a loved one, a community, and a place you once call home will always remind us of this tragic event.
The National Interagency Fire Center’s (NIFC) National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) has stated their Oct 1 update: “...fire activity will likely diminish across the West, except for portions of California, and remain normal over the Eastern and Southern Areas through November. Elevated periods of fire activity are likely in portions of Oklahoma and Texas and possibly in other locations in the Southern Area during fall into winter.” As of I, the ongoing 69 fires–I–have burned over 4.6 million acres. Though experts have already shared their two cents, they believe that these wildfires are not a mere tragedy but an urgent call to action. After all, this fire-stricken California is still burning as we speak and if we don’t proactively address the issue, damages might become irrevocable.