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California fires: A Brief View

As the orange hue settles on the sky, and ashes stay suspended in the air, the California Wildfires rage on. More than 2.3 acres of land has been burnt, a new low. Three of the most intense and large fires in California history are all happening, concurrently. A record combination of heat, drought and overgrown forests, might have created one of the most devastating natural disasters this year.

The factors influencing this are debatable, but few stand out as most probable. One is the extremely dry winter and lack of rainfall, that was followed by the summer fires. The statewide snowpack was just 54% of the state average. Cities are receiving less than half of the average rainfall. Those areas, the snowfall and rainfall of which remained low, faced much bigger setbacks in terms of burn ber acre. The other cause is the increased presence of dying or dead trees. Naturally, the lack of moisture would lead to much more fodder for the fire, and California’s dying forests can only be treated by million-dollar projects, something which the government cannot afford at the time. While others speculate climate change and lightning, the former two, prove to be most dangerous.

The two fires that climbed to the top of the numbers as the most burning per acre, the August Complex and the North Complex. The August complex fires, burning across Glenn, Lake County and Tehama, debuted on August 16, and have spread throughout the Mendocino National Forest. The North Complex fires, in Plumas, Buttle and Yuba counties that started on August 17, have two main prongs: the Claremont Fire and the Bear Fire, which have left twelve people missing, and three dead.

Unfortunately, the fires are not being contained only to California, and are spreading to Oregon and Washington states. The skies are choked with ashes and smoke, and the fires soldier on, wreaking havoc almost everywhere. Governor Gavin Newsom characterised the fires as ‘historic’. They certainly are historic, and will most certainly shape the way we see climate and fires for years to come.

Reporter: Omkar Mantri

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