How to Help the Victims of the West Coast's Latest Wildfires

Savannah Walsh
·4 mins read
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency - Getty Images

From ELLE

Four months remain in California's fire season, but the skies over the Bay area are currently amber-colored and filled with smoke. Stunning photos have emerged after recent wildfires raged on in California, engulfing more than 2 million acres with no clear end in sight. Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state has seen 7,606 fires in 2020 so far—up substantially from last year's 4,927 and largely due to climate change. "Wildfires are a big part of the seasonal challenge," Newsom said, per CNN. "The challenge we're facing now is the extreme fire events that we believe are climate induced."

At least seven were declared dead on Wednesday in blazes that have spread through Washington, Oregon, and California, The New York Times reports. All three of those areas are seeing record-breaking damage—480,000 acres have been burned in Washington and 35 wildfires torched more than 300,000 acres in Oregon, per the Times. “We expect to see a great deal of loss, both in structures and in human lives,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said. “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.”

Nearly 14,000 firefighters have been dispatched to the Bay area, some on 24-hour shifts, according to CNN. But Cal Fire has warned that number will not be enough to prevent fires from spreading across the West Coast. Part of the rescue shortage is owed to fewer prison inmates assisting, per CNN. The COVID-19 pandemic led to 600 fewer inmate firefighters than last year, Cal Fire notes. Evacuees fear the coronavirus at local shelters and a lack of resources threatens more record-setting damages. (Track the wildfires here.) Your support is needed to help those devastated by the latest round of deadly wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Here's how you can help:

As always, speak up about climate change.

The West Coast's latest influx of fires showcases how climate change has dangerously escalated natural disasters. Contact your representatives to enact policy reform when it comes to addressing this dire issue and its impact on our planet.

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