By Nicholas Hallmark

Extremely large wildfires have broken out for the second time in the last two months in California. In mid-October wildfires destroyed thousands of acres of land and homes in the Northern California, Napa area. These fires burned for over seven days and were extremely hard to contain. Now, Southern California has burst into flames around the Los Angeles and San Diego County areas for over 5 days now. According to CNN, there are at least six large wildfires that have scorched up to 141,000 acres of land, where at least 5,700 firefighters are working to contain the fires.

The California terrain is very dry and flammable, which makes it very easy for the fires to spread. Heavy winds carry these fires long distances at an alarmingly fast rate, which makes it very difficult for these firefighters to contain the burning. These winds are moving at 35 to 55 miles per hour, which make it very easy for these fires to spread to new areas. The fires are burning communities to the ground. People are being forced to evacuate their homes. According to CNN reporters over 190,000 people have already left their homes with nothing but their pets and a small amount of personal belongings.

Multiple sources have ranked this current fire as the 19th most destructive fire in California state history, and yet it is still on a destructive path and could effect more people. A fire of this magnitude is calling for military assistance in order to try and contain it. The firefighters alone are not able to fight the fires themselves, especially with the fires being in so many different locations. Naval helicopters with the ability hose water from the sky will be joining the fire effort very soon. Hopefully, with more help from the military services and fire-fighter’s efforts, they will be able to contain the fires and save people’s homes.

In addition, even once the fires are contained, there will still be a very intense smoke problem in the air. Ash and other hazardous chemicals will be present in the air for multiple days, maybe weeks, making living conditions extremely difficult. The contaminated air causes coughing, shortness of breath, watery eyes, and makes it very difficult for some people to be outside. Sports events and most outdoor events are being cancelled because it puts many children and adults at high health risks. Once the fires are contained, the air will be the main concern for residents near these areas.

Many people’s communities have been completely burnt to the ground. Similarly, to the Northern California fires, there is now a growing number of people who will not have homes or any of their belongings. Most of these families have seen their houses burn to the ground. Many reports say that areas that have been effected by the fires now look like war zones where barely any signs of life. There are shelters in which these people can stay while they attempt to figure out how they will adjust after seeing their houses and communities burnt to the ground.