History of wildfires in California
The state of California, USA comprises a dry-arid environment with winds blowing sometimes in hot weather conditions most of the time of year. This weather of California is very likely to produce wildfires; either moderate or extremely severe sometimes depending upon the ongoing weather conditions. The total land area of California is 99,813,760 approximately or roughly about 100 million acres. Out of the total, almost 1.60 percent of the land has already been burnt by the California wildfires making it 1,600,000 acres burnt approximately.
Many reasons are leading to the growth of wildfires in California into more dangerous and massive damage to the state and its people. For example, continuously increasing population, climate change, accumulation of wood fuel in forests, increasing amount of transmission and electricity distributing lines across the state, and humid global warming, etc. brings a whole season of California wildfires that happens in series across the entire state.
The governor of California State, Gavin Newsom claimed on August 19, 2020, that there had been more than 360 ongoing wildfires across the California state. Those were initiated by the intense environmental conditions including thunderstorms in the mid of August. These caused massive damage and a heatwave that added to the complications to the already ongoing Coronavirus epidemic.
Recent wildfires in California
According to the reports, the ongoing August wildfires in California have become the largest and the most dangerous fires in the history of California. It has become an alarming situation in California since the start of several other wildfires reaching the top in the list of largest wildfires in the history of the USA. For example, the most recent fires of SCU and LNU brought massive damage to the environment with them.
Following are the largest and the most recent fires happened in California:
1- CREEK FIRE took place in Fresno & Madera Counties. It happened not long ago, in September 2020. It burned 244,756 acres. It also destroyed 744 structures approximately. However, it didn't cause any death.
2- AUGUST COMPLEX FIRE took place in Tehama County. It happened in August 2020 and burned the area of 839,175 acres. It marks the destruction of almost 26 structures and one death in total.
3- NORTH COMPLEX FIRE took place in Butte, Plumas, and Yuba counties in August 2020. It burned 280,775 acres in total and destroyed 1078 structures approximately. It also killed 15 people in total.
4- SCU LIGHTNING COMPLEX FIRE took place in Stanislaus, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin counties in August 2020. It burned 396,624 acres approximately and destroyed 222 structures with zero deaths in total.
5- LNU LIGHTNING COMPLEX FIRE took place in Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Yolo & Solano Counties. I happened in August 2020 and burned about 363,220 acres. Moreover, it destroyed 1,491 structures and killed 5 people in total.
The health of kids and Ways to protect them
Smoke comprises specks of airborne pollution that are smaller than the width of a strand of hair. These particles, known as PM 2.5 particles, can affect kids more. It is because children breathe faster and are more vulnerable to get affected and sick by such things in the air. So they must be protected to avoid the risks of air pollution.
Children should be taken away from wildfire areas; however, it is not always possible, so it must be avoided in alternate ways. Such as children should be kept inside of the houses more and be allowed less to roam outside. Certain precautions should be followed for safety as wearing masks.
For this, the N95 masks are recommended by the authorities. These masks provide 80% protection against air pollutants. The experts suggest that other medical and cloth masks are not much efficient and effective. But children must be advised to use a mask that can stay on their faces for long and protect them from the harmful effects of wildfire smoke.
Damages due to wildfire
Wildfires cause various kinds of damages. These can include damage to the environment, health, economy, and availability of both natural and artificial resources. So from causing minimal damage sometimes, wildfires can also impose a huge threat on the land and people residing there. These wildfires can place long-lasting damages that are not easy to be compensated afterward. For example, soil erosion due to the destruction of all the vegetation, lowering of water level beneath the Earth's surface, structure damage to houses and buildings, and risks of species extinction, etc.
According to the reports, the cataclysmic Camp Fire in the state of California killed more than 80 people in total, destroyed almost 19,000 buildings, and brought a loss of more than 16.5 USD in just a year. It alone caused damage to the whole state by fires amounted to about $27 billion (over a year) and disturbed the whole economy in the worst possible manner.
Effects of wildfire
According to Balmes, a researcher, the wildfire smoke is as fatal as the cancer is for it comprises everything toxic from carbon monoxide to cancer-causing compounds like benzene, etc. The smoke coming from burning forests and plains can be alarming for they can damage the ozone layer. Moreover, the smoke also produces ozone and particulate matters that tend to travel thousands of miles from the point of their origination.
The wildfire smoke also brings pollutants that can cause bigger damages. These specks of pollution coming directly from the smoke can cause coughing, irritation in the nose, eyes, and throat, suffocation and choking sometimes, flu and tightness in the chest area, etc. However, all of such issues are more likely to affect young ones, children, outside workers, pregnant women, and elderly people, etc. in a serious manner. It can also lead to chronic health problems like heart disease, asthma, and lung damage.