Every year it seems that California has these insane wildfires that are making people and animals homeless. This year is no different, except it seems worse. Every day, there seems to have been a new fire reported. CNN just reported that 26,000 people have been evacuated due to the Easy Fire. This wildfire has burned at least 1,300 acres and could jump Highway 23. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayoub told CNN at a news conference that there were intense firefighting conditions. They actually had to ground fixed-wing aircraft because of the high winds, with gusts up to 65 miles an hour. For those who are unaware, that’s almost the wind speed of a Category 1 hurricane.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 30, 2019
These wildfires are not just damaging to our environment, but to the livelihood of millions of people and animals living in the areas affected. PG&E even purposefully blacked out cities in California due to wildfire risk.
“To protect public safety, PG&E has turned off power due to gusty winds and dry conditions combined with a heightened fire risk. Once the weather subsides and it is safe to do so, PG&E crews will begin inspecting power lines, repairing damaged equipment and restoring customers.” —PG&E
Climate Change is a Major Contribution to Wildfires
In 2018, more than 1.6 million acres were burned, over 23,000 structures were destroyed, and 93 people were killed due to wildfires, according to CAL FIRE. Drought and high winds have been cited as the two main causes of these wildfires. These winds are known as Diablo winds — offshore events that flow northeasterly over Northern California’s coast and create an extreme danger to the San Francisco Bay Area. These winds are very similar to hurricane-force winds and they fuel the flames with plenty of oxygen. CAL FIRE also said that the fire season is starting earlier and ending later every year. It has increased by 75 days across the Sierras and “seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state.”
Yes, it’s because of climate change. We have warmer spring and summer temperatures, earlier spring snowmelts that create not only longer dry seasons but also add intensity and increase moisture stress on vegetation. We’ve similar here in the Deep South as well, where I’ve lived my entire life. Whether in Atlanta, Dallas, or Louisiana, it’s almost the same. The heat of the springs and summers are more and more intense every year. There’s even a joke about it.
We are not threatened by fires to the same extent as California, luckily. However, we have seen more intense hurricanes and wildfires, and it seems to be getting worse.
The question has to be asked: what can we do to help those impacted by the California wildfires? People are losing their homes, animals are also losing their homes. Pets and natural wildlife are being burnt to death. For those of us in the safety of our corners of the world watching California burn and seeing our friends there talk about smoke in the sky, or giving thanks for Tesla’s bioweapon defense filter, it seems so unreal that this is going on in the came country that we are in.
This is America, the great and the beautiful. California is a symbol of the future — with all of its leading technologies, prosperity, and innovation. People like Elon Musk, who works to help change our world for the better, and Mark Zuckerberg reside there. Many technologies that you, dear reader, use are headquartered in Silicon Valley. This affects you as well.
How to Help Victims of California Wildfires
Sonoma County Resilience Fund
The Sonoma County Resilience Fund was created as a response to the 2017 wildfires (which burned down the home of one of our core writers and executives). The fund will send donations to those who have been affected by the fire. It also focuses on creating housing solutions for the community.
Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation
The LA County Animal Care Foundation is helping pets by providing food and shelters for them. Many shelters that help humans do not allow pets, but our furry loved ones need support too.
Their owners may be able to take refuge in shelters, but pets need somewhere to go, too. This foundation provides temporary shelters for animals in need of a place to stay.
American Red Cross
Since early this morning, the #RedCross has been supporting @LACity evacuation centers for people displaced by the #GettyFire. There are currently 5 centers open. We are providing water and snacks to displaced residents and giving them a safe place to stay. pic.twitter.com/pT3yF9R8w9
— Red Cross Los Angeles (@RedCrossLA) October 28, 2019
The American Red Cross has five centers open in the LA area for Getty Fire evacuees and is providing water and snacks to those made homeless by the fires. It also has people on the ground up north helping with food and water as well as providing shelter and emotional support.
The wildfires in California are still blazing, threatening thousands of homes and businesses. Red Crossers are on the ground providing shelter, food, water and emotional support. #GettyFire #TickFire #KincadeFire pic.twitter.com/mELaCtXFIp
— American Red Cross (@RedCross) October 28, 2019
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is providing meals, snacks, and beverages for those affected, along with emotional and spiritual support. It’s serving three meals a day at five different shelters in Napa, San Rafael, and Petaluma. You can help them provide meals by donating here.
In response to the wildfires that are burning across California, we have launched a centralized location for verified GoFundMe campaigns helping those impacted by the devastating Kincade, Getty, & Tick Fires. https://t.co/ziEPttvAjQ
— GoFundMe (@gofundme) October 28, 2019
GoFundMe has set up a campaign to help people affected by the wildfires. The webpage shows a list of verified campaigns that you can donate to and help those affected by the fires. GoFundMe also guarantees that the funds will reach the victims and their families and are backed by GoFundMe Guarantee. This webpage is updated on a regular basis with verified GoFundMe campaigns to help those affected by the wildfires.
I can not imagine what it’s like having to evacuate from your home due to a wildfire. I can’t pretend to understand and know what these families are going through. I have been homeless before, I have been through a couple of hurricanes. However, the idea of fire is terrifying — more so than flooding. Water will not burn your skin off as a fire would. So, no, I can’t imagine the horror these families are going through. However, I will remind anyone who reads this to be empathic and compassionate.
I’ve seen comments geared at me joking “just move” when hurricanes are brought up. I’ve seen the same aimed toward those in California when the topic of earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides come up. The solution isn’t running away. You can’t just move. People have their lives built in their communities. We have to be mindful that one can not just uproot their life to run away from a disaster when disasters are everywhere. Move to Chicago — it’s cold and windy up there. Too much snow for me. Move to Oklahoma — lots of tornadoes. Move to Florida — there are hurricanes. Moving isn’t the answer. Innovation is.
This is why what Tesla is doing with its Solarglass Roof is beautiful. Yes, if your house catches on fire, it will burn down. This is common sense. However, with Solarglass being able to withstand high temperatures, the odds are it won’t be destroyed. Like the earthquake-proof buildings built in California and the underground tornado shelters in the Midwest, we need an innovative solution for homes that are in wildfire zones.