Record Breaking Wildfires Ravage Across West Coast States

Mariam Guirgis, Contributing Writer

This year, wildfires on the West Coast have set records for being the largest in decades.  The fires spread rapidly from late August to early September, affecting many people and states across the U.S. These fires caused mass destruction and forced many to evacuate their homes.  According to BBC News, the California and Oregon fires were caused by a combination of lightning strikes and brush fires.  This years’ wildfires have caused a lot more damage than anticipated.

“Near the fires, people have lost their homes, even their lives.  We are all frightened because a fire can start anywhere and with lightning speed,” said California resident Peter Vaccaro, a relative of junior Eleni LaRussa.  

“One day, the smoke obliterated the sun, causing it to be an orange ball in a very grey apocalyptic sky,” said Vaccaro.

At least 33 people have lost their lives, and tens of thousands more have left their homes since the fires have started across California, Oregon, and Washington.  The fires have been the cause of hazardous and toxic air quality, endangering people with pre-existing health conditions and making it hard to breathe.

On Sept. 9, the sun did not rise in California because of how much smoke covered it.  The winds started picking up, fueling the fires and spreading them across neighboring states.  According to CNBC, more than three million acres of land have burned in California and more than one million acres in Oregon. Reports from the BBC state that this year’s fires have cost an estimated $20 billion.  

West Coast wildfires have affected the weather in New York as well.  Winds from the West Coast have blown debris across the country, causing the smoke to block sunlight.  As a result, the weather felt a lot colder than it should be this early in the fall.

As a response to the damage that has occurred across California, other states are trying to help contain the fire and hopefully avoid any more destruction of homes.  Texas has been actively trying to help, sending 190 firefighters and 50 trucks to California. Other states, like Utah and Colorado, have also been sending fire crews to help out.

Many of those whose homes are being threatened have been evacuated. People have been supportive of those who have had to relocate. 

This year’s wildfire can be blamed on climate change, and the droughts occurring magnify the fires’ effects.

People with friends and families living in the affected areas are worried about the well-being of their loved ones.

“I’m very worried that the fires are getting close to my family, and hope that they won’t have to get to the point where they’re forced to evacuate,” said junior Elleni LaRussa.