Beginning Oct. 8, a series of wildfires spread across Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, Butte and Solano counties in Northern California.
What caused the fires?
- No evidence has been found to indicate how the fires themselves started, but 95 percent of fires in the state of California are started by people
- Lightning and faulty transformers could be another possible cause
- Hot, dry conditions with high winds and lack of water allow these fires to quickly spread
- The 50-75 mph winds experienced in this region not only provide a steady supply of oxygen to growing fires but also fell trees and limbs that have had an impact on power lines.
- The drought much of California has experienced the last few years makes plants and trees brittle, easily ignited and broken, providing fires with plenty of material to burn through
- Because the fires started near midnight, the firefighter response was slower than usual, allowing the fires time to truly grow/spread.
- Some wildfires are natural beneficial, burning away the dead debris that clogs up forest floors
- Rampant suppression of these fires, however, has lead to over clogged forests and a greater probability of uncontrollable wildfires like these
- Climate change also contributes. For every degree the climate warms, forests need 15 percent more precipitation to remain sufficiently hydrated
What are effects?
- The death toll from the fires is currently 42 people, with 40,000 evacuated from their homes
- The smoke from fires can cause irreparable damage to the heart and respiratory system because of chemical components including carbon monoxide
- 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed and 170,000 acres of land have been scorched, including the vineyards sprawling across California’s wine country
- According to Time, the fires will have little impact on California’s wine industry as a whole however, as the wine country only makes up 10 percent of all California wine
- Environmentally, the fires will have varying effects in each region and on each animal species in that region, making it difficult to predict how ecosystems will be affected
- A trail of smoke over 500 miles long can be seen from space as it billows off of the state
An interactive map of California’s fires can be found here.
2409 Total Views 12 Views Today