The fires in California have begun claiming lives again. In October, the wildfires in Napa and Sonoma ruined 8,900 homes and buildings and took the lives of over 40 people. In December, fires also sprang up in Southern California, burning 280,000 acres—the largest recorded fires in California. Now, in the heat of summer, wildfires have returned to the Golden State.
The Carr fire in Northern California’s Shasta County is forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. The fire is not contained. So far six people have lost their lives to the fire, and 98,724 acres have been burnt.
In Central California near Yosemite National Park, there is another fire raging. The Ferguson fire is 30 percent contained—however, the fire department is mourning the loss of a firefighter who died working to contain Ferguson.
Why have there been so many fires in the past year? Experts say wildfires are the product of climate change. 2018 is the fourth hottest year on record so far, surpassed only by the past three years. Climate change not only causes heat--like the heatwaves and droughts experienced across the world right now—but natural disaster becomes more likely and dangerous as the climate becomes more extreme.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has reportedly removed information and research about climate change from government websites. President Trump is a vehement climate-change denier, and his department of Environmental Protection favors the interest of free reign business and industrialization over...well, environmental protection.
Although President Trump may have pulled out of the Paris Agreement and is pulling scientific evidence from government websites, he is still forced to deal with the physical manifestations: natural disasters. Puerto Rico is still recovering from the devastating hurricanes of 2017, and President Trump declared a federal emergency for California wildfires.
The government should be looking towards more permanent and preventative measures to avoid wildfires before they start instead of simply offering aid when it is too late. Until it is dealt with by world leaders—government and corporation leaders alike—climate change will only worsen, leading not only to devastation of our towns and cities, but of natural wonders like Yosemite and our natural resources like glaciers in Alaska.
Climate change needs to be taken seriously; its effects have already become real and imminent.