Enormous, hellish wildfires are raging across the West Coast. Washington, Oregon, and California are being choked by thick smoke clouds that hang over the landscape. Firefighters are battling back the blazes to the best of their ability, but the odds are not in their favor.
The massive conflagrations are being fueled by a combination of dry, hot conditions and favorable wind speeds.
This has led to thousands of people needing to evacuate as millions of acres have burned. Twenty-four people have been caught in the blazes and killed this week alone.
Wildlife experts have inferred that thousands of wild animals have likely been killed in the flames, and countless insects and plants have been killed as well. Experts believe that at least five million acres have likely already burned.
West Coast Faces Hellish Moment
Things haven’t been easy in the last six months for anyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to go outside already without fear of contracting a deadly illness. Coupling that with the widespread fires on the West Coast, and it’s no surprise that many in the region are calling this moment “apocalyptic”.
The thick smoke and ash from the blazes have painted the skies orange, red, and even black in some areas. The air quality is poor enough to merit warnings from the authorities.
Many cities in the region appear to be cloaked in eternal darkness as the flames creep ever closer. As the smoke grills the city regions, small towns nearer to the wilderness are being evacuated. Some small towns have been burnt to cinders by the wall of fire.
Deadly Flames, Upended Lives
This blaze occurring in the midst of a pandemic puts many in an unthinkable spot. There are families losing their homes and finding themselves hard-pressed to find shelter, due to the pandemic. “I drove 600 miles up and down the state, and I never escaped the smoke,” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) told reporters on “This Week”.
“We have thousands of people who have lost their homes. I could have never envisioned this.”
Climate scientists feel that climate change is playing a major role in the size and spread of the flames. The extended period of drought, combined with ever hotter summers, generates far more fuel throughout the West Coast.
This, in turn, allows the blazes to spread wider and faster, and burn hotter and taller. Fire crews in the region are fighting tirelessly to even slow the blazes. Containment is a pipe dream: the crews are just trying to buy evacuees time to get to safety.