California Wildfires

Kathleen Nolan, Staff Writer and Assistant Editor

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Last month, there was lots of news about the wildfires occurring in California. But where did these fires coming from? What areas specifically were affected? And, how have these fires changed life for those living in California?

Most people have at least some general knowledge about wildfires, but how exactly did the fires in California become so massive? Firefighters have determined that several wildfires started on the same night in close proximity to each other.

It is still unclear as to exactly what caused these fires, but they are known to have started in California’s wine country region. Ken Pimlott, the director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, says that high-speed winds made it easier for the fires to spread, the fact that the fires starting at nighttime before people noticed them, the vast amount of vegetation in the area, and the extremely dry conditions all played a role in causing a few small wildfires to turn into a massive devastation.

So what kind of damage did these wildfires cause? In total, they burned more than 245,000 acres of land according to the Northern California Fire Department. On Sunday, October 8, 20,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes in Northern California.

It is estimated that about 8,500 structures were burned down, and 42 people lost their lives. The county of Sonoma was affected the most by the fires, losing entire neighborhoods with more than 6,800 homes completely gone. Wine country reported to have lost at least 5% of their stock.

California is beginning its re-building process. Although the lives lost can never be replaced, citizens of California are determined to restore their beautiful state and come back stronger than ever.

Several collection crews have been sent to salvage anything they can from burned home sites, remove toxic materials, and obtain any resources they can to help re-build structures. Cleanup is planned to end in early 2018, but it will probably take several years to reconstruct all the homes and buildings that were lost. However, the California fire departments and state officials are making sure that everything goes as quickly and smoothly as possible, and issuing new rules about homes being built near wildfire-prone areas.

Although this devastation took so much from Californians, they are working together to make sure that wildfires will never again cause such great destruction, and taking every measure to make sure that cities will be safer and more prepared if enormous wildfires start up again.

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