West Coast Crisis

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Thomas Fuller

Firefighters across the west coast are trying their best to contain the wildfires

Kennedy Jones, Staff Writer

Right now, the West Coast is experiencing some of the worst wildfires in its history. The fires began early September in California, but have quickly spiraled out of control into Idaho, Oregon and Washington destroying almost everything in its path.

The fires stretch from Los Angeles to northern Washington, leaving tens of thousands of people without a place to live. The smoke clouded skies in these areas have spread over much of the Midwest, and haze has reached as far as New York City.

At least 27 people have tragically been reported dead as well.

In Oregon and Washington alone, 28 fires have burned across 1.5 million acres of land. Approximately 8,500 firefighters have been deployed to the states to contain the fires. However, smoky conditions have made it impossible for airplanes or helicopters to assist in putting them out. Some debate that climate may also play a factor as to how wildfires can be handled.

“The rules of fighting wildfires are changing, because our climate is changing. There is no fire suppression plan on this planet that does anyone any good if it doesn’t even acknowledge the role of climate change,” Governor Jay Inslee of Washington wrote in an open letter on Monday.

Firefighters continue to try containing the fires in California. On Tuesday morning, they controlled 30% of the August Complex Fire which has burned more than 750,000 acres north of Sacramento. Still, thousands of people in Oregon have been put under evacuation orders due to the severity of the fires.

Weather may assist in the control of the spread of the wildfires in the west as well. Winds are expected to ease the fires, but are not likely to clear the smoke and haze in the sky. The air quality is an issue too, since it can be basically toxic and unlivable.

“We should see an improvement. More sunshine will be filtering through the smoke, and that is due to the southwest flow beginning to stir the atmosphere. But the air quality is still forecast to be unhealthy,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mathews told New York Times.

It is unknown how long the fires will continue to grow. However, impending rain may help firefighters contain them. It’s important to send out prayers and help in hope of a quick recovery from the flames.