Oregon Wildfires

Dozens of wildfires have ravaged the West Coast this year, bathing the skies in fiery oranges and hazy grays, blocking out the sun and raining ash. Some thirty people have been confirmed dead, tens of thousands have evacuated, and millions of acres of land have been burned. Fire season has become more and more perilous in recent years, with 2018’s Camp Fire seeing the destruction of Paradise and Concow, California, and the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California’s history. In Oregon and California alone, there have been over eight thousand wildfires this season, with more to come.

Climate change is increasing the risk and scope of wildfires. It makes the planet drier and hotter. Once a fire is sparked, a lack of rain and heavy winds can cause it to spread rapidly. The winds also blow the smoke to nearby towns and cities. At the height of their wildfire season, Oregon’s air quality was “so far beyond ‘hazardous’ that no one knows what it means for health.” The smoke and ash in the air were so bad it maxed out the scale used by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to measure hazardous air. 

As for now, the skies in Happy Valley are back to blue, and the rainy season is approaching. Residents are still on edge, though, with some saying that they don’t expect it to last.