California continues to burn
Northern California is currently facing ravaging wildfires that are having deadly effects. Due to strong winds, the fires have spread over more than 191,000 acres of land in California and ruined countless homes since October 8th. The cities Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Napa have had the worst cases of wildfires in the state and are sending in firefighters to attempt to control the damage.
Lisa Nolan’s town, Petaluma, which is south of Santa Rosa, is a vital part of the efforts in evacuations.
“Because of [Petaluma’s] size and location, and because we have been safe from fires, we are ground zero for fire evacuees including lost and injured pets, and livestock and horses,” said Nolan.
The blazes are burning down businesses, homes, and vineyards, destroying the wine industry in the area. At least 41 people have been killed and officials are estimating that more than 200 people have been reported missing since the uncontrollable fires began. There are still around 174 people who have not been found, according to The LA Times on October 15th. The Tubbs Fire in Napa County grew from 6,000 acres to 34,270 acres in just one night, shocking the inhabitants of the area. The emotional effects are almost as great as the physical ones. People are losing their homes, their possessions, their lives, and everyone involved is greatly stressed because of it.
Wildfires can be caused by a number of reasons, but the most likely reason in this situation is that the plants in California are very dried out due to the massive drought that has been occurring for quite some time, meaning they are more flammable.
Bryan Brautigam, a biology teacher at the Wellington School, teaches that climate change is a leading cause of the drought in California.
“Climate change has caused severe droughts in California which is a likely reason why these fires have been so devastating. Dry weather means that the plant life is drier and easier to burn,” Brautigam explained.
The people of Northern California are mournful and somber as they see all of the damage the fires have caused. The rest of the country is hoping that firefighters can get the flames under control, so California can begin to rebuild what its people have lost; a safe haven.