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California Wildfires Rage – Viking Call

Viking Call

Upper Merion High's Student Newspaper


California Wildfires Rage

The California wildfires started in July 2018 in the northern part of California with the Carr Fire in Trinity counties and the Mendocino Complex Fire in Colusa, which destroyed 1,884 buildings in total. After the fires continued to rage, and new fires sprang up across the state, they were declared a national emergency on August 4th, 2018.

This continued without many fatalities until the horrific Camp Fire on November 8th, 2018, which killed 86 civilians and destroyed 18,804 buildings. It is considered the deadliest fire in California’s history and brought the population of Paradise, California down 90%. Days after this, President Trump pledged federal help for Californians affected by the fire but blames forest management and firefighters in California for the destruction.

As of 2019, celebrities such as Kate Beckinsale and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been forced to evacuate their homes due to the California fires, along with Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, and many others. So far this year, 5,136 fires have been recorded burning in California, about 110 fires a week. This has been leaving a red haze over the state, and fires can be seen burning from roads. As of November 2nd, 2019, there are at least 8 fires burning in California, but state officials say that most are 70% contained. Drones have been mainly used to contain and extinguish the fires through dumping water onto the fires. Up to and including November 1st, at least 200 people had no power in California due to the blazes, but the officials say that power will be provided to those citizens soon. On October 31st, the Maria Fire broke out, which is currently the largest fire burning in California. A state of emergency has been issued to the entire state, as the fire is only 20% contained and very dangerous.

On November 3rd, 2019, President Trump tweeted that the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has done a “terrible job” of forest management and has not been listening to the demands the government has been making of him. President Trump states via Twitter: “Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing– and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states…But our teams are working well together in…..”– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump), November 3, 2019. This would not be the first time Trump has made this threat, as he also threatened this in November of 2018 and January of 2019.

The cause of the fires has been debated, Newsom stating climate change, and President Trump saying the cause is poor forest management by the California firefighters and forest officials. President Trump’s threat to cut off funding has caused controversy, as a study conducted by the University of California showed that 57% of forest acres in the state are owned by federal agencies, which would cast blame upon the US government for failing to maintain them. Gavin Newsom responded to Trump’s threats stating via Twitter: “You don’t believe in climate change. You are excused from this conversation.”– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) November 3, 2019.


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