California Wildfires Threaten Nearby Homes and Wildlife

Chloe Clendenin, Author

Wildfires in California, Washington, and Oregon have resumed sometime near mid- August. Wildfire season is typically between July and November because of how hot and dry it is. While wildfires occur every year, this outbreak has burned over 4.6 million acres across California, Washington, and Oregon. Scientists and officials say this is the worst year on record for wildfires. The causes of these fires vary for each area. Some are just natural recurring fires from heat and dry season, power lines being knocked down, pollution, and lightening; however, another area was caused by a baby gender reveal. There are 94 separate fires burning in the forests and rural areas, so it’s not only affecting the wildlife, nature, and families living there, but it also is affecting nearby cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. 

California has 25 fires resulting in 22 deaths; Washington has 16 fires which caused 1 death; Oregon has 13 fires and has suffered 10 deaths. Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are also experiencing wildfires. 

The air quality from the fires has become extremely poor, and it’s changing the sky color to orange in some areas. Homes that are still standing in some of these states are having to jam towels under doors to keep the smoke out. The air is filled with a dense smog and ash. This is especially concerning in this wildfire season because of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is making it even more difficult for people to breathe, thus increasing the opportunity for COVID spreading. Furthermore, this significantly affects people with underlying health issues like asthma, chronic bronchitis, cancer, etc. Officials in these western states have opened ‘clean air centers’ to combat this, but with the lingering threat of COVID, the process isn’t quite a walk in the park. In addition, California already has the highest rate of homelessness across the United States with approximately 151,278 homeless people. Now that these fires are destroying homes, forests, cities, and wildlife the number of homeless people is going to rise, which will create additional problems for those people already homeless.

As it stands, the western United States is burning right before our eyes.  While our country is sidetracked with COVID, the unusual and rushed attempts to start schools and put children back in classrooms, and of course, November’s election, unfortunately, these fires don’t seem to be getting the attention or concern that they should.  We here at the Sandscript feel obligated to bring this information to light for you, the students before our west coast burn to the ground, because saving this area, and more so its people, should be a top priority in the US.  If you’d like to help in the relief efforts, you can donate to many different organizations found at