California wildfires wreak havoc across the state


photo via Wikimedia Commons under creative commons license

True color corrected reflectance image of California on November 8, 2018, showing the smoke from the California Camp fire near Paradise, California. On the same day the smoke spread southwestward to the Bay Area.

Julia Spano, World views editor

In an ordinary year in California, hot winds and wildfires are considered an ordinary occasion. In 2018, however, years of droughts and poorly-controlled fires have finally taken their toll.

The “Camp Fire,” as it has been dubbed by The New York Times, is estimated to have burned over 130,000 acres, the equivalent of more than two hundred miles. According to Cal Fire, it may take until Nov. 30 to get total control over the fires.

The New York Times claims that 77 known people have died in the fires, with the toll constantly rising and thousands more missing or unheard of since the fire’s inception. This makes them the deadliest wildfires in California’s history, with the runner-up being far behind at only 29 deaths.

“What are they going to do?” James Hana of the burned-down Paradise, California, said. “They’re not going to rebuild.”

According to the California Government Fire website, there have technically been about a hundred fewer fires than last year. But those fires have burned 847,588 acres of land, much of it in residential or civilian zones. Fires on this level are considered unprecedented by law enforcement.

Across the world, statements have come in from a multitude of world leaders. Queen Elizabeth has offered America her “deepest sympathies to the people of California.” President Donald Trump himself has visited California, though reactions to his statements have been more mixed.

“I don’t believe he’s going to do us any good,” local Terry Lee said. “The local people are doing a fantastic job. FEMA is doing fantastic. I think it’s just showboating.”

In spite of the burning of over 12,000 homes, the California Fire Organization, as well as many of the area’s locals, are working their hardest to contain the fires. Over 65% of the camp fire is now held down, for example. But only time and the changing winds will tell if Paradise and other towns can recover.