California Wildfires. By Aisha Al Suwaidi. What are Wildfires?. A wildfire is any fire that occurs in the countryside or wilderness area that cannot be controlled.
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California Wildfires By Aisha Al Suwaidi
What are Wildfires? • A wildfire is any fire that occurs in the countryside or wilderness area that cannot be controlled. • They may be called brushfires, bushfires, forest fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire and wildland fire, depending on the size, area, and vegetation. • Wildfires are distinct from other fires because of its enormous size and incredible rate of speed of spreading from the originating source. It can also change directions suddenly while leaping over gaps, such as rivers. • Wildfires occur on every continent except Antarctica.
- Locate and describe the region • In the United States, most wildfires occur in California. • California lays on the west shore of the united state.
Causes • Wildfires are produced naturally usually from four causes: lightning, erupting volcanoes, sparks form falling rocks, and natural burning. • Human interference is also a major cause of wildfires, such as flammable, power line and other equipment sparks, discarded cigarettes and campfires that were not put out all the way. • There must be a combination of at least two causes in order for wildfires to occur. • Other factors, such as dry air and fuel emissions, cause fires to rise and make it difficult to extinguish.
Issue • Wildfires are a major environmental hazard. • Politically and economically, they have cost California more than $800 million each year, with numbers increasing each year. • Environmentally, they have contributed dramatically to global warming. For example, snow has melted earlier since the 1980’s in the Western U.S. since the increase in wildfires. • Measures taken to prevent and control fires have not been enough. In 2007 alone, more fires have occurred than any other year, despite increased awareness efforts.
Describe the social • There has been an enormous social impact of the wildfires on the residents of California. • Many people have had to evacuate their homes. • Many people have lost their homes. • Loss of power severely impacted those dependent onpower for medical equipment. • Danger from downed power lines, broken traffic signals • Businesses and schools were closed, disrupting normal routines for an indefinite period of time. • Families have had to find temporary shelter and alternative life-style plans.
Health • Some could not return because the pollution residue was too bad and harmful to the health. • When heavy smoke lingers for an increased length of time, microscopic particles can build up indoors. • Smoke from wildfires produces small particles from dirt. This can cause cardiovascular and respiratory illness, which can lead to early death. • Children and elderly have had the most long-term negative impact.
Economic • Damage to property has gone into billions of dollars. • Insurance agencies have not been able to cover the entire cost of the home value because much of the value has depreciated during the recession since homebuyers have purchased the homes. • Acres of land have been destroyed. • Farm industries have lost crops. • Tourism has been negatively impacted. Theme parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios were forced to shut down from the heavy smoke.
Political • Already reeling from the economic recession, government has had to declare state-of-emergency to cover the cost of recovery. • Government has little budget set aside for clean-up and recovery. • In the end, California taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
Environmental Impact • Wildfires affects climate, weather, and increase pollution not only in the immediate region, but globally as well. • For example, one study shows that “from 2001 to 2007, fires burned more than 4 million acres and released an estimated 277 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from combustion and the post-fire decay of dead trees.” This is the same as putting an additional 50 million cars on the highways of California. • The gasses released will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. • Wildlife is killed, air and water is polluted, and soil is stripped from the hillsides. • California’s state forests have been seriously ruined.
Suggestions and Solutions • Since the majority of funds are to be paid in fighting existing fires, more needs to be done in preventing and reducing fires. • Currently, there are prevention techniques, such as wildfire awareness campaigns with Smokey the Bear. However, this is not enough to reduce human infractions. More manpower for patrolling is needed since early detection is one of the key factors in fighting wildfires. • Reducing fossil fuel emissions will also reduce the changes of fire spreading since there will be one less factor in feeding the fire. • Thinning trees in the forest and cleaning up brush will also reduce factors that feed the fire.
Place and Space • This specific region California and specifically the southern part is affected environmentally. As most of its forests places is getting ruined and destroyed this would put out a lot of its income of wood and lead to a huge impact of the atmosphere as fire/smoke would increase the level of global warming around the area. In addition to that the places around the huge wildfires would put down some tourism area’s and spaces where people visit. Because of wildfires release on these specific spaces. The fact that wildfires spread unexpectedly in a fast speed that would move onto roads out of the forest areas and keep destroying spaces around including vegetations and human uses. • Relating my issue to another issue; for example if we take the wild fire happening inYellowstone national park, you can declare the similarities and the differences; for instance the Yellowstone damages costs $120 million per year comparing this with the wildfire in Southern Californian which estimated approximately $800 million per year. It clearly shows that Southern California is affected more economically and environmentally due to the affects that Yellow Stone carry’s out from this issue.
Bibliography • "CAPCOA California Smoke Impacts Information." Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. Web. 30 Jan. 2010. <http://www.airquality.org/smokeimpact/>. • "Http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21492649/. • " Print."Impacts: Wildfires." Climate Choices. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.http://www.climatechoices.org/impacts_wildfires/ • Western Institute for Study of the Environment. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.http://westinstenv.org/ffsci/2009/08/24/impacts-of-california-wildfires-on-climates-and-forests-a-study-of-seven-years-of-wildfires-2001-2007/ • ."Wildfire -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 30 Jan. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildfire>. • Wild Fire. Digital image. Wikimedia. WikiPedia. Web. 1 Feb. 2010. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/Crown_fire_Old_Faithful.jpg>.