Fighting California Fires

Caroline Kerns, Staff Writer

In California, we are known for many things, some of the most prominent being beaches, earthquakes, and fires. Recently, many fires have been breaking out across California.

There are always fires occurring around the world and causing destruction. One example of the damage that fires can cause was the Cedar Fire in San Diego, CA. 2,820 structures were burned or destroyed, while 273,246 acres were set ablaze all together. This 2003 fire killed 15 people, including a firefighter. One of the survivors, Rudy Reyes, was burned over 70 percent of his body. Another famous fire was the Camp Fire in November 2018. This fire killed 86 people, mostly senior citizens. The inferno was in Butte, California, and burned 18,804 buildings, over 153,336 acres in total. 

“I think it’s pretty terrible that all the people had to evacuate, and all the animals had to too,” stated seventh-grader, Ellie Marshall. 

There are many different causes for fires, though the most frequent causes are unintentional, such as keeping the oven or heater on. Around 95% of fires the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection responds to are caused by humans. That leaves only 5% to natural causes. Some ways that humans start these fires include power lines and electrical equipment, sparks from vehicles, and cigarettes.

“The fires are a terrible tragedy that I know nothing of,” seventh-grader, Betty Tran admitted. 

Furthermore, arson is a rare cause of wildfires, but when it happens, it is disastrous. Arson is defined as “the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property.”  In 2006, Raymond Lee Oyler, an accused serial arsonist, used a combination of matches and cigarettes to start a fire at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. Five brave firefighters gave up their lives protecting the civilians in Oyler’s fire.

In conclusion, Californians need to focus on fire prevention due to the significant damage fires continue to cause each year.