Wildfires’ Negative Impacts on the Health and Economy of California

Nature

Wildfires are causing significant negative impacts on people’s physical and emotional health and California’s economy.

Apocalyptic Scenario

A report from the BBC has described the wildfire situation this summer as “apocalyptic.”

According to a resident, Asha Karim, they narrowly escaped being victims of the fires, causing them to take a grueling 13-mile walk. On the way back, they saw vehicles in a convoy speeding and navigating the twisting mountain roads, flashing their lights on other cars and waving to them to go back because of the dangerous fires.

Wildfires’ Negative Impacts on the Health and Economy of California

(Photo: Pixabay)
Wildfires are causing significant negative impacts on the people’s physical and emotional health, as well as the economy, of California.

READ: Low Temperatures and Rain Can Help Battle California Wildfires 

Permanent Damage to Houses and Lives

Berry Creek local journalist Carin reported how her father’s store burned down. She said that it turned to “little more than smoldering rubble.”

In her entire life, it was just the second time that she saw her father cry. She thinks that the destruction would be too much for her father to handle, despite him being able to take most of life’s obstacles that came his way.

Most people in Berry Creek did not have much, and what little there is, the fire took away.

US Fire Suppression Policy

California is no stranger to wildfires. However, this year’s wildfire season is a first because of the record-breaking fires at this time. 

Native Americans have been known to harness fires to maintain the health of the forests. Setting fire to dead and weak trees helps return nutrients to the soil.

This is also a well-known principle in fire ecology. However, the US has had a century of fire suppression policy, which is misguided and is at odds with scientific or traditional Native American principles.

Because of this policy, which prevented smaller fires from naturally occurring, current fires now burn more severely and destroyed forest habitats and infrastructures. This is due to more dry branches and litter accumulating and serving as more fuel to the fires.

READ ALSO3-Week-Old Mountain Lion Cub Rescued from California Fire

According to Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary for Forest Stewardship of the California Natural Resources Agency, this policy resulted in 90 years of accumulated fuel. When climate change is added to the mix, this catalyzed the process and created more significant and more destructive fires.

She says these created a “tinder box,” causing various cascading “domino” effects seen all over California. She also shared that the state had one of the most prolonged droughts, which caused massive deaths of trees throughout California. 

Simultaneously, there have also been unprecedented heatwaves, which, among other things, cause lightning strikes. There have been more than 14,000 lightning strikes in a single 24-hour period, which initiated 900 wildfires.

Long-term Impacts

As California rebounds from the second COVID-19 spike, air quality becomes abysmal, which negatively affects Californians’ economy, unemployment, and health. Due to the pandemic, the populace’s emotional health has been severely affected, and people are wondering if the situation will be sustainable in the long term. 

According to Carin, the issue has become personal because it has directly affected her family. Unfortunately, not everyone can uproot or afford to leave, for, despite the wildfires and their effects on the economy and people’s health, many people’s livelihoods are in California. They cannot be taken with them elsewhere.

 READ NEXT: Wildlife Species Being Threatened by Continued Wildfires in the Western US 

Check out more news and information on Wildlife Species on Nature World News. 

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