The Effect of California Wildfires On The Environment


Alexander Kirkwood, Staff Writer

California Wildfires can potentially have a devastating effect on the environment that is irreversible and create an environmental crisis in the forests, especially in 2020 during an international pandemic. The wildfires cause a health risk and have caused many dark times for people that have lost their homes or loved ones.

Wildfires cause many health problems. The smoke from wildfires creates many toxic chemicals that can damage someone’s lungs and eventually kill them. The gases that are produced are lead, asbestos, copper, carbon monoxide, and ammonia, among others. These chemicals may cause cardiovascular diseases, respiratory issues as well as some cancers. If the wildfires continue to burn, most Californians will be exposed to these dangerous chemicals and the population could suffer and it could be too late to fix the problem.

Wildfires are caused by a variety of factors, such as extreme weather, droughts, rising temperatures, and dry brush that is fuel for the fires. Though the California wildfires have claimed many lives, thanks to the sacrifice of the firefighters, many more thousands of lives have been saved.

Thirty-three thousand, nine-hundred seventeen wildfires, and counting, have burned in California in 2020 alone. The infernos have burned over 1.3 million acres and the year is not yet over. The fires have caused the loss of millions of dollars and have left many people who have been made homeless and wildlife has been left for dead by the mindless and destructive fires. The loss of money, due to the wildfires, will further worsen the economic crisis that is already in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018, the most devastating wildfire in California’s history, The Camp Fire killed 85 people and injured 17. The fire burned over 100,000 acres and more than 6,400 homes. The Camp Fire left wildlife without shelter or a source of food and thousands of people without a home. The fire caused the loss of anywhere between $3 million and $6 million. Prosper Fire Department Chief, Stuart Blasingame, stated, “It has literally destroyed several towns along its path,” Illustrating exactly how large the fire was and the wide range of people it affected.

Students at Santiago may be concerned about this because they have experienced the effects of wildfires themselves. In 2018, The Holy Fire burned in Lake Elsinore, but it caused the delay of the start of school at Santiago High School as well as the rest of the Corona-Norco Unified School District. The air quality in Corona, California was extremely bad and caused some students to be evacuated from their homes. The Holy Fire burned over 23,000 acres and 18 buildings. Since Santiago students have had first-hand experience with the devastation a wildfire could cause, they must take personal responsibility to help stop wildfires.

In order to help stop these wildfires, Californians need to start having safer habits. If you go camping, make sure you completely extinguish your fire so you don’t start a fire, you may think that a few hot ashes from a small fire can’t do any harm, but the truth is that any small flame or spark could cause a fire that could change the lives of thousands, from a simply avoidable mistake. As Californians, we must start saving water and end the drought that has plagued California for years. If the drought ends, it would reduce the amount of dry brush that is fuel for wildfires.

There is no reason for the wildfires to stop or even slow, because of global warming, the warmer weather will cause more fires and make it harder to extinguish the flames. In order to stop global warming, we must start depending more on renewable resources and slow and eventually stop the emission of greenhouse gases. This will drastically stop the effects of global warming and lower the frequency of intense weather, which is a cause for wildfires. In order to slow and eventually stop global warming, Californians must stop eating so much meat, because the pigs, cows, and other cattle are producing greenhouse gases, which is the driving factor of global warming. The world must put all their effort into creating an economy that is completely fueled by renewable resources, if the world does this, the planet will be saved, and Californians must start the process.

As Smokey says, “Only YOU to prevent wildfires.”








Print Friendly, PDF & Email