The Pacific Coast Wildfires


Urban areas and the wildfires. Photo credit: Tegan Mierle

Alexandra Wiggins

Many Western states in America have witnessed some of the most detrimental times for many years, but this year has really hit hard. From an insanely hot few months, states such as California, Oregon, and Washington have been put under health advisories and limited oxygen warnings just from the thick and smoky air.


Another surprise of 2020, this year has truly been the worst for the seasonal wildfires that spread across the West. Parts of California reached the record temperature of 121 degrees with little to no rain at all. Many citizens throughout these areas were not allowed out of their houses due to the intense air quality that was not survivable for people and even animals. These fires have affected people’s homes and have taken many people’s lives. So far, there have been 34 fatalities from this horrible natural disaster.


Just recently, on September 28, just south of Napa County California, the wildfires began to spread through neighborhoods and overtook houses. As of now, three people have died from this incident and over 70,000 have been evacuated. Throughout these troubling times, people have voluntarily evacuated to places further North to places that are not as dry. 


Golden gate bridge surrounded by wildfires. Photo credit: Om Malik


Although this season has by far been the worst for the wildfires throughout the West, there are many ways that one can help those who have been affected by these fires. According to the New York Times, “The Red Cross is providing food, shelter and relief supplies to people affected by the fires.” To contribute click here.


Another way to help is to donate through the Red Rover shelters. The Red Rover organization shelters animals while they have been separated from their families during natural disasters. Everyone is struggling during these times including animals. Click here to donate.


These wildfires are not only caused by natural impacts but also by humans and climate change. Over the past few decades, humans have not been very considerate of the way that we are supposed to take care of our Earth. From burning fossil fuels to even just setting off fireworks in Arizona, these actions can drastically change the environment. “I think that what is happening in California with all the wildfires is very tragic and I believe that we should try and do more to help stop climate change. We should all try to reduce our carbon footprint to help our planet,” says Phoebe Rathbun (11). While the lands out west are already extremely dry, scientists have given evidence that even the slightest thing can trigger a wildfire. A story provided by the New York Times gives the perfect example of one of these triggers. On September 7, 2020, an exciting gender reveal party sparked a flame that turned into a wildfire. A fire fighter even passed away while trying to stop a fire in the San Bernardino National Forest minutes from Los Angeles. People who are affected in the regions of these fires should really begin to take precautions and not use any substances that can easily start or catch fire.


To read more information click here.