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California Ablaze

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California Ablaze

Northern California firemen continue to work to put out the raging fire. (via Daria Devyatkina)

Northern California firemen continue to work to put out the raging fire. (via Daria Devyatkina)

Daria Devyatkina via Flickr

Northern California firemen continue to work to put out the raging fire. (via Daria Devyatkina)

Daria Devyatkina via Flickr

Daria Devyatkina via Flickr

Northern California firemen continue to work to put out the raging fire. (via Daria Devyatkina)

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Since the beginning of October, California has been struck by a series of wildfires that have since affected over 20,000 people. One-hundred-eighty-two thousand acres have been burned by the infernos and at least 5,700 buildings have been destroyed; the fire related death toll stands at 42 and more than 100 people are still reported missing.

An unusually hot, dry summer created ideal conditions for the inferno. The summer weather dried out plants and shrubbery throughout Northern California, vastly increasing the amount of combustible material. Powerful winds fanned the fury of the fires and caused them to spread with terrifying speed. Although climate change cannot be linked directly to the catastrophe, it can increase the frequency of seasonal temperature extremes and average dryness, both of which contributed to the conditions responsible for the inferno’s destructive force.

Officials do not know the exact cause of the wildfires, but believe that the fires were a product of human negligence or arson, as 95 percent of California wildfires are man made. One suspect has been arrested on the suspicion of arson; however, investigators are also considering the possibility that power lines downed by high winds sparked the conflagration.

The White House’s response to the disaster has been minimal and although President Trump approved a disaster declaration for California, he has been unusually silent about the disaster, leaving many Californians puzzled as to why he has yet to release a non-tweeted statement about the wildfires.

Currently, all of the fires are nearly contained and California has already begun on the road to recovery. Property damage is expected to be extensive and extremely expensive; the hazard analytics group CoreLogic estimates the cost of repairs at around $65 billion. Many search and rescue groups are working on the ground in Northern California to assist survivors in an effort to save lives and avoid additional casualties. Pine Crest Scientific Innovation and Entrepreneurship Academic Adviser, Keri Kolettis stated, “California wildfires are not only devastating to the environment and the economy, but to personal lives everywhere.”

Source: CoreLogic, Washington Post, National Geographic, CNBC, Mercury News, CA.gov, and ABC News

Photo Source: Daria Devyatkina via Flickr

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California Ablaze