Can Environmental Changes Affect California’s Tick Fire?

By: Jasmine Potts

A Tick Fire is a wildlife actively burning in Los Angeles, California. The fire broke out on October 24, 2019, and has currently burned several thousand acres. The fire forced the mass evacuation of 40,000 people from the Santa Clarita Valley.  The fire began in a section of town where PG&E had opted to keep the lights on. According to the company, the sites were not designated as a high fire risk.  Powerful winds were driving multiple fires across California and forcing power shut-offs intended to prevent blazes. PG&E said a contractor working in Humboldt County died in a vehicle accident during the power shutoff Friday (Cooper). More than 900,000 power customers, an estimated 2.5 million people were in the dark at the latest blackout.

 An increase in temperature can affect and create conditions that elevate the risks of forest fires.  Fewer than 300 structures have burned in wildfires so far this year compared with more than 23,000 in all of last year. Around 163,000 acres have burned this year, according to Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency compared with 1.6 million acres in all of 2018. Some risks include long fire seasons, dry conditions, infestations, and lightning. To help protect and prevent these amazing places from burning remember Smokey’s Five Rules of Wildfire Prevention: Only you can prevent wildfires, always be careful with fire, never play with matches or lighters, always watch your campfire, with making sure your campfire is completely out before leaving it. Although wildfires can be destructive they have beneficial attributes as well. 

Wildfires can be deadly, destroying homes, wildlife habitat and timber, and polluting the air with emissions harmful to human health. The benefits of wildfires include burning decay matter and returning trapped nutrients to the soil. Wildfires create thin forest canopies and undergrowth, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor and a new generation of seedlings to grow.  Here are some safety tips for if you ever are caught in a fire: Don’t try to outrun the fire, find a depressed, cleared area, lie low to the ground, and cover your body with wet clothing, a blanket, or soil. Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground, if possible to avoid inhaling smoke. Get away from any surrounding fire, smoke, and get to a safe place. 

Wildfires can be dangerous but also beneficial to the environment some may look at it as an environmental hazard. There are long term effects such as exposure to polluted air which can result in significant health issues like asthma, lung cancer, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary. On the bright side, the fires help the world from decaying.

Cooper, Johnathan J. “Utility Says Power Lines May Have Started 2 California Fires.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 28 Oct. 2019, 10:55 pm, www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2019-10-28/fires-spread-amid-power-outages-in-northern-california.

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