California Catches Ablaze

By Shelby Anderson

Wildfires in California are not a new issue. Fiery flames are nothing new to the people who live in the hot dry climate of California. A problem that trails as far back as most people can remember, wildfires are a common natural disaster for the folks of California. Some of the most memorable California Wildfires have evicted people from their beloved homes, ripped the lives of family members away, and stripped most Californians of everything they have. Baby pictures, birth and wedding certificates, and family heirlooms all engulfed by flames; items that will be sorely missed, items that are irreplaceable. Some Californians even take the precaution of abandoning their homes before a fire has a chance to destroy more than just a house. For some, financial instability or even the selfish notion of wanting to protect their homes from a much larger beast than man, keeps them staying for more. Unlike many other states that encounter wildfires, California’s wildfires almost always start with heat lightning or dried brush that catches fire from the excruciatingly hot sun that graces California most of the year.

Firefighters work day and night to try to contain the fires, in hopes that some Californians may be spared the grief and suffering that follows a wildfire. Countless gallons of water poured over steaming flames, rarely ever do good. Containing a fire is the most you can hope for, extinguishing a fire is nearly impossible considering most of them span for hundreds of acres.

The question that arises in the minds of California civilians and other people in general is just this: “How can we prevent a fire before it occurs?” or anything similar of the nature. Uprooting your home and moving somewhere new is not a viable option for everyone in California, whether it be due to financial means or physical or mental inability (such as old age and disabilities) It seems that lately wildfires have been a steadily recurring issue in the near past for California. Prevention and protection is the key to conquering these natural disasters.

Prevention cannot always be accomplished but it can be attempted to reduce the risk of brush catching fire. Although controlled burns have been discussed and executed on rare occasion; what happens if these controlled burns take a turn for the worse? Some cities have even gone as far as banning all forms of fire including controlled or semi-controlled burns such as campfires or smoke fires used to flush game into a hunting region. Cutting and trimming underbrush, that is an easy target for lightning strikes, can greatly reduce the risk of them catching ablaze, but the issue lies in whether or not wildlife and California officials can do this successfully before another outburst. Hundreds and thousands of acres are possible game for a wildfire, droughts are cause of wildfires along with heat-lightning storms. Prevention is only a small part of the safety game, nature decides the rest.

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