California Wildfire Crisis


Anastasia Rojas, Staff Writer

California is the highest-ranked state among the United States that has lost the most tree cover, which could lead to an even larger crisis in the future such as the weather getting much hotter, or more fires occurring across the world. However, learning more about the cause of this problem could help us determine how to prevent the growth of the issue.

California wildfires are the 5th major contributor to modern deforestation in the state. By Dec. 3, 2020, there had been 9,279 fire incidents that ravaged over 4,197,628 acres. By Nov. 27, 2020, 52,113 wildfires had burned a total of 8,889,297 acres—approximately 2.3 million more acres burned than the 10-year average. The number of acres then increased to 10.1 million acres destroyed by wildfires. 

The wildfires destroyed or damaged 10,488 structures, and caused 31 fatalities. Nearly half of forest land is federally unprotected, which meant a wildfire was bound to happen in a matter of seconds.

The Sequoia National Forest (SQF) Complex fire was on Wednesday of Aug. 19, 2020, and ended on Friday of Sep. 3, 2021. The cause of this fire was lightning and the fuels involved were litter, chaparral, and grass. The fire spread 174,178 acres across the forest.

The El Dorado fire was on Saturday of Sep. 5, 2020, and ended Friday of Jan. 15t, 2021. The cause of this fire was a human and the fuels involved were inside the fire perimeter that continued to consume due to lower humidities and peaks. The fire spread 22,744 acres across the forest.

The August Complex fire was on Monday of Aug. 17., 2020, and ended Tues. of Jan. 26. The cause of this fire was once again lightning and the fuels involved were nature (grass, brush, and timber). The fire spread 1,032,648 acres across the forest.

We can help prevent these wildfires by being more careful when it comes to camping or picking up trash after having a picnic instead of leaving it there. Recovery grants are going out from the Center of Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), which announced $3.3 million in wildfire recovery grants; some of this money comes from the CDP COVID-19 Response Fund to support recovery from disasters in multiple communities. Many foundations have also donated to others for the recovery of the wildfires, which have helped the foundations grow.