Facts Behind the California Wildfires  

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Facts Behind the California Wildfires

Helen Lee Schifter, the former Wall Street arbitrage trader and former Hearst and Conde Nast editor, has always been concerned about the environment.

Therefore, when she learned about the dreadful wildfires in California that have affected millions. Schifter sought to research the facts behind the California Wildfires. Here are some of the things she learned.

First, while California has experienced hundreds of wildfires in the state since its admission to be a state in 1850, the 2020 fire season was particularly devastating, with a total of 5 major fires that were among the top 20 wildfires ever experienced in California.

Second, California, by its climate, has always been subject to wildfires. Forests get their water supply in the fall and the winter, and then slowly dry out, creating a great deal of kindling.

However, due to climate change, the weather in California is getting worse with regard to wildfires.

Third, while many wildfires are caused by lightning and downed power lines, the plain fact is that thousands of Californians now live in forested areas which are attractive because of their beauty, but with lots of people, it means fires are easier to start.

Fourth, past successful fire suppression has made things worse.

Wildfires are a natural part of nature, and one thing that happens is that a lot of trees and plants are burned up.

Unfortunately, this means that when wildfires break out, they often last longer because there is an excess amount of foliage and kindling to burn.

Fifth, there are the Santa Ana winds.

California experiences strong gusts of wind during October through April known as the Santa Ana winds.

Not only do the Santa Ana winds dry out the kindling in and around forested areas, but when fires start, these winds, which can easily exceed 40 miles per hour, spread embers of fire very fast.

COVID didn’t help. Another factor affecting the number of deaths and injuries was the COVID 19 virus.

Many people already had weakened immune systems from COVID-19. But when you add the tremendous amount of smoke in the air due to the 2020 wildfires, more people were either hospitalized or actually died as a result of the fire compared to years before.

Wildfire season is now longer. Due to climate change, the Environmental Defense Fund states that Wildfire season is three times as long as in decades past.

Finally, Helen Lee Schifter learned that combatting future fires is very costly.

California is a very diverse state, with nearly 1/3 of the state being forested, or subject to major wildfires.

In addition to combating climate change, cutting away debris that will prevent forest fires is a very expensive proposition. Meanwhile, the State has many other pressing issues such as homelessness and poverty to deal with.

Ultimately, for the next two decades or so, it does not look like California will do any better in terms of Wildfires, and it may get worse yet.

About the only thing the average citizen can do is to recognize the danger of wildfires and be extremely careful with anything that could cause a fire to erupt.