The Number Of Wildfires In The US Has Topped 100 – Here's What You Can Do
As firefighters across the country battled blazes in at least a dozen states, authorities announced Saturday that the sparking of six new large wildfires had brought the total number of active wildfires up. There are now more than 100 wildfires burning in the United States with more expected to break out before fire season is over, Reuters has reported.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were at least 104 "active large fires" burning across the country Sunday. While California has experienced some of the largest burns, Reuters reported wildfires have scorched acres of land in states all along the West Coast, from Washington to New Mexico.
In Northern California, the Carr Fire has burned more than 191,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 residences, and killed eight people since it started July 23. Roughly 150 miles southwest of the Carr Fire burn two blazes known collectively as the Mendocino Complex Fire. Since it started July 27, the Mendocino Complex Fire has burned a combined total of more than 331,000 acres, making it California's largest wildfire in state history, according to fire officials. Southeast of the Mendocino Complex Fire, the Ferguson Fire has consumed nearly 96,000 miles of land just outside Yosemite National Park and led to the deaths of two people since it began burning July 13.
In Southern California, the Holy Fire has scorched nearly 23,000 acres of land and continues to threaten thousands of residences in the Glen Eden, Riverside Community, El Cariso, Blue Jay, and Rancho Capistran neighborhoods. That fire was started Aug. 6.
The high number of large fires have caused firefighters from across the country as well as Australia and New Zealand to come and assist in containing and putting out the blazes. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently more than 30,000 people working to put out fires that have burned more than 1.6 million acres in total.
And officials recently told Reuters they expected to see more fires break out across the United States before fire season is over. "We are expecting that there will be more fire-starts today," the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center's lead forecaster, Jeremy Grams, told Reuters Saturday. According to Grams, strong winds and low-relative humidity in the northwest have created "critical fire weather conditions" while areas in the country's Rocky Mountain region are expected to soon see dry thunderstorms, which produce lightning with minimal amounts of rain.
But there are ways you can help. A 2017 study from the University of Colorado, Boulder's Earth Lab found that climate change and human activity both played dangerous roles in increasing both the length of wildfire season and the amount of acres being burned.
"Climate change is making our fields, forests and grasslands drier and hotter for longer periods, creating a greater window of opportunity for human-related ignitions to start wildfires," Jennifer Balch, Earth Lab's director and the study's lead author, told Phys.org last year. According to the study, humans caused 84 percent of wildfires between 1992 and 2012.
To decrease your chances of unintentionally sparking a wildfire, review the National Park Service's fire prevention and safety tips.
Those with the means to do so might also consider donating to the Wildland Firefighter Association, which provides assistance to injured firefighters and the families of firefighters killed in duty, or the Firefighters Charitable Foundation, which not only assists fire victims but funds fire safety programs.