Wildfires Cause Destruction, Deaths in California

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by Mel Dikert

The recent wildfires in California have become more contained over the course of this week, but not without casualties. According to the Los Angeles Times, the fatality count has jumped to 42 with the discovery of yet another victim on Wednesday, October 18.

Caleb Dean (‘21) commented on the containment, saying, “The people working on this situation are doing the best that they can. There are going to be casualties and it’s a really terrible circumstance. Honestly, with the scale of the issue, it’s impossible to be perfect.”

This week has seen some cooler temperatures and lighter winds compared to the warmth and dry air that persisted the previous week. These conditions being far more favorable, firefighters were able to start their operations on Tuesday night. “I was pretty worried when I first saw all of the news reports. I called my family and everyone seemed to be doing fine, luckily the closest wildfire to them was still about 20 minutes away,” said Ryann Callaghan (‘19) from Fountain Valley, Calif. “However, I have a cousin going to college at Sonoma State who had to evacuate campus and go home because of how close the fires were to them. I’ve seen pictures of all the damage and it’s really sad to see how much some people have lost.”

The Pocket fire in Sonoma County may be the smallest, but it is also the least contained, being at 63 percent containment by Wednesday after having burned 12,430 acres.

The Nuns fireburning in Sonoma County and Napa Countyis the largest, burning 54,423 acres so far. By Wednesday morning, firefighters managed to get it 80 percent contained. They were able to do this despite another fire igniting, the Oakmont fire, as an offshoot of the Nuns fire, says the Los Angeles Times.

In the south, there is the Tubbs fire, which, while not the largest, was the deadliest of the bunch; it has killed 22 people so far and burned 36,432 acres, according to the San Francisco Gate. Firefighters were able to get this blaze 91 percent contained by Wednesday, but only after it destroyed the city of Santa Rosa and burned 36,432 acres.

Some people who were evacuated have been allowed to return to their homes so long as they were not in the burn areas, but many people have still not been allowed back. “I admire the work that the state of California and the fire departments are doing to contain the fires and relocate the people and families in need of a place to go in a difficult time,” says Nick Meittinis (‘21).

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