Millions of acres of national forest space in Northern California are being closed due to dangerous conditions created by wildfires that have already destroyed hundreds of homes. The US Forest Service announced this week that it would be closing nine national forests stretching from Lake Tahoe to the Six Rivers National Forest.
The Eldorado National Forest has already been closed due to the Caldor Fire which greatly damaged over 100 square miles of land. In two days the wildfires in California have grown 10 times their original size.
25,000 Californians are currently under evacuation orders due to the fires as well. More than 650 firefighters and 13 helicopters were recently battling a deadly blaze near Lake Tahoe.
“The hope is with the additional resources and personnel on scene, we can really start to build that box around this fire and start the containment,” said Keith Wade of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“The fire wants us bad because it’s made every attempt it can to get out of that canyon and up this way,” Thurman said. “So they keep beating it down. And it’s just … it’s resilient, it’s stubborn, it won’t go away. That’s all we can do,” said Thurman Conroy and his wife, Michele, who stayed behind to protect their house and their business, Conroy General Store.
Evacuees from the Caldor fire found refuge in places like the Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, where a multitude of tents and trailers have been set up. Over a dozen fires have been threatening thousands of homes, and the recent heat waves in America have forced small communities to evacuate into safer spaces away from the fire’s path.
More than 10,000 firefighters have been deployed throughout the state to minimize the damage. Authorities claim the Dixie Fire, which began on July 13th in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades area, has spread over 1,060 square miles and has only been 35% contained.
The fire completely gutted the town of Greenville two weeks ago, destroying over 1,200 buildings, including 649 homes, according to ongoing damage assessments from the state.
So far no deaths have been reported in these fires but a handful of injuries have come up. One small but destructive fire completely burned through a mobile home park, destroying about 50 homes.
Climate change in general has made the West coast much warmer and drier within the past couple of decades, which makes it much easier for these fires to start and spread uncontrollably. Scientists claim the weather will only continue to become more destructive as climate change continues to worsen and be ignored by our government.
The US Forest Service has contacted Canada, Mexico, and Australia for wildfire assistance, however, all of their services are currently being occupied by their own climate disasters and wildfires.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.