A wide stretch of California land, say around 3 million acres, has succumbed to mega-fires that sparked off at various spots across the western coast, making the inhabitants to struggle for clean oxygen in tandem with blackouts and sending tremendous heat-waves measuring in 3 digits. An eminent scientist is prompt to assert the climate change to having inflicted a massive blow to this land. The USA witnesses a catastrophe which, experts observe is the direct outcome of series damages done to our environment in small number, during past years at various places dotted across the state and which was a major cause of worry for environmentalists. In other words, a bunch of different disasters have occurred which overran each other only to augment the individual affect of each, but on a mega scale.
Entire west coast is being engulfed in blazing radiance (Washington to Oregon) and towns have been reduced to ashes by ghostly blazes while fire-fighters too are feeling abounding heat of their profession and are scattered at various places to wrangle the flares with.
Not mincing words, the fiery crisis that stair this US state right into the face, is the result of series of un-climatic events done or witnessed in past years. To begin with, there struck an intensely blistering summer which created immensely dry conditions across the stretch and this cultivated the ground for biggest wild-fires to occur. In fact, there have been 20 wild-fires that have ignited on a massive scale in the fateful state in 2020.
Where climate change, as a concept was taken for granted nearly 10 years ago, the nightmare has turned into reality for residents of this state. Not only thousands of people have been driven out of their homes, but the toxic chemicals have made inpouring into the drinking water also. Truly, an insanely distressing situation as people grapple with pandemic and lockdowns on one hand and have to bear the smoky air hat chokes the popular health and wellness, on the other side.
Adding fuel to the agony, the insurance companies are said to have nullified the policies of homeowners, fearing further spread of wild-fires and then, power supply has been intently interrupted indefinitely in some areas, leaving tens of thousands of residents without enabled homes.
The governor Gavin Newsom affirmed last month, “If you are in denial about the climate change, come to California”.
As per climate scientists, they hold callous human approach to be solely responsible for such a nasty turn of events, which tops the burning of coal and oil (prime fossil fuels) which results in greenhouse gases that trigger the temperature to rise. Following this, deadening of forests, thereby making the wood ripened to catch fire easily.
Mark Harvey, held the position of senior director for resilience at the National Security Council until January, informs about the measures initiated by the government to bring such exploding things under control in California., “The government does a very very bad job looking at cascading scenarios”. He felt bad that “Most of our systems are built to handle one problem at a time”.
Truth be told, in many ways, numerous factors that took place in earlier decades, in fact, prepared groundwork for wild-fires to unroll. Like there occurred a lengthy spell of drought that finally concluded just 3 years ago but before making it difficult for 163 million trees to survive both in this unfavourable state as well as in the poor state, as per what is reported from U.S. Forest Service. Then, an uncontrolled fire also pulled a wide portion of forest in its fold, where dead trees were at large, i.e. south of Yosemite National Park.
In contrast to the south, Bear Fire broke out in the north, with flares flared up quickly to cover 230,000 acres in just one day.
Daniel Swain, who is a distinguished climate scientist at UCLA run Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, laments, “It’s really shocking to see the number of fast moving, extremely large and destructive fires simultaneously burning. He went on to say, ”I’ve spoken to maybe two dozen fire and climate experts over the last 48 hours, and pretty much everyone is at a loss of words. There’s certainly been nothing in the living memory on this scale”.
While the authorities brace up for any imminent danger arising out of blazing situation, the fires have already caused mounting problems accounting to billions of dollars to re-build. Commonly to commoners: breathing in smoke, wreaked drinking water supply, elderly population is worst affected, hospitalization is on the rise, reddening of sky high, insurance companies turning their back and so forth.
Not to skip but those with Covid-19 are said to be more vulnerable to risks associated with wildfire smoke and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an exclusive health advisory in this regard.
At this point, John Balmes, comes in, who is a spokesman for the American Lung Association and also a professor of medicine at University of California claiming, “The longer we have bad air in California, the more we’ll be concerned about adverse health effects.”
Referring about the drinking water, it is a well-known fact that particles arising from burned homes land on groundwater and reservoirs only to make these more polluted. But, after the 2017 wildfires in north of San Francisco and then, following the 2018 fire that reduced the Paradise town in Sierra to ashes, a research was conducted which declared a distinct threat of Benzene and other harmful chemicals which were stark-present in water systems.
Now, Emily Szasz, who studied art history at Santa Cruz shared her feelings of being in a strange land. She adds, “There were wildfires occasionally throughout my life here, which would be quickly fought and contained. Never do I remember 23 straight days of orange, oppressive smoky skies; leaving my house in fear that I’d never return to it; knowing someone whose home burned down in the mountain near my house”.
Her distress resonated in her words, ”There is no greater proof, nor should we require it, that climate change is here and is changing our lives. I am just 25 years old and I do not know what future is there for me, let alone my potential children and grand-children”.
Dear readers, let’s put our fingers cross that something better would turn out for our environment and for humanity.