The Wrangler

Massive Wildfires in Northern California

Neighboring+house+smothered+by+Northern+California+wildfires
Neighboring house smothered by Northern California wildfires

Neighboring house smothered by Northern California wildfires

Neighboring house smothered by Northern California wildfires

Abigail Kim, Photojournalist

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Once again, notorious wildfires of Northern California hit on Tuesday, October 3rd due to dry and hot weather. They have charred nearly a quarter of a million acres of land, destroyed more than fifty-seven hundred structures, and killed at least 40 people.

Stubborn ash particles flew into San Francisco Bay Area, remaining there for weeks at a time. Some school districts have even cancelled school because air conditions increasingly thickened with the ash. Governor Jerry Brown believes it to be “one of the greatest, if not the greatest, tragedies California has ever seen… a horror no one could have ever imagined” (New Yorker).

To this day, a dozen fires are still burning. According to California Fire Department of Forestry and Protection, the Atlas Fire, near napa, is seventy-five percent contained, and the Nuns Fire, near Sonoma is sixty-eight percent contained.

The Bay Area carries iconically cool and humid weathers inland, which supports vegetation, and weather maintained. However, when wind directions and patterns change unpredictably, leaving intense dryness and heat behind. Fire risks begin to soar.

Debate that is seemingly unrelated to the natural disaster has arisen, causing differing stances and turmoil: immigration. Sonoma County Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcements have paired to investigate the issue.

ICE Director Thomas Homan states that the current immigration policies have left the sanctuary where the fire started “vulnerable to dangerous individual and preventable crimes.” However, Sheriff Rob Giordono lashes back and stated that Homan’s argument is “inaccurate and inflammatory to the community… ICE attacked in the midst of the largest natural disaster this country has ever experienced…our community [is] already exhausted and scared” (LA Times).

Alexis Wilens (12) explains that “it’s a shame that ICE is blaming immigrants for such a different topic… I feel like they are always targeted for this and it’s a clear example of racial discrimination as well as scapegoating.”

Regarding the future, California residents as well as other dry states should know proper preparation for coming wildfire. The first step is to make sure at least one person in the household watches the TV or listens to radio news broadcasts; most events are posted and updated automatically on these sites. Secondly, individuals should know where to evacuate when mandatory. It is trivial that at least one vehicle is well fueled for long traveling times and possible traffic. Lastly and most importantly, if a wildfire is spotted, and have not received notifications of it, call 9-1-1 immediately.

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Massive Wildfires in Northern California