A fiery mess - Toxic smoke blankets California and Oregon. In Colorado fires still burn.
The West Coast has been experiencing unprecedented heat across every state. We’re talking all-time records in California, where temperatures reached 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49.4 degrees Celsius) in Chino, roughly 35 miles east of Los Angeles. This heatwave shows how even a seemingly minor boost in global average temperature, driven by the climate crisis can play out in regional extremes.
The extreme heat provided the setting for the fires which erupted through California. Burning a staggering 1.7 million acres of forest to a crisp, making experts describe the onslaught as a “fiery wake-up call for climate science”. After a harsh, dry winter and almost no rainfall since April, California's forests, shrubs, and wild grass are dry and burn quickly.
In Washington state, an estimated 300,000 acres burned in the span of a single day, as winds stirred up some of the most extreme fire behavior imaginable. In Colorado, record heat made perfect conditions for the Cameron Peak fire double in size to 60,000 acres in a day.
Experts are warning: This year is particularly dry, and the worst is yet to come.
In a recent press conference, California Gov. Gavin Newsom remarked: "These fires are historic because they are on pace and setting the pace of a historic fire season". The West Coast has endured some of the biggest fires in over a century, in the span of just a few months. Burning intensively since the begging of this year’s fire season.
While most wooded areas in the West are no strangers to fire, the effects will be felt in the next months and even years as local communities, human and animal alike, struggle to rebuild.
The West will be healed in due time, but it must serve as a wakeup call for all of us. It is no coincidence that this year’s fires are burning so ferociously, with global temperatures on the rise we should expect other prolonged heat waves leading to massive fires.
It’s during these times that we must work together as a community and pitch in to heal our environment. With the help of our planting partner American Forests, we’re planting trees all across America, making our environment stronger and more resilient. Bringing new life to lost habitats, helping our planet filter the air we all breathe, restoring balance in eco-systems almost gone forever. Our community is making a difference every day, and as the saying goes, every one of us can make a difference, together we create change.