THE LA FIRES EX­PLAINED

Closer (UK) - - News -

HOW OF­TEN DO THESE BLAZES OC­CUR?

There are on av­er­age five a year, but in 2018 alone, 1.3 mil­lion acres have been de­stroyed. Cal­i­for­nia’s most re­cent is the dead­li­est ever and has been of­fi­cially de­clared a ma­jor dis­as­ter.

HOW DO THEY START AND SPREAD?

Wild­fires start in ar­eas prone to high tem­per­a­tures, and can be sparked by tossed cig­a­rette butts or downed power lines. Strong winds help them gain mo­men­tum. The re­cent Camp Fire spread quickly, burn­ing 20,000 acres in just 14 hours.

WHO IS TO BLAME?

It’s un­clear but Pres­i­dent Trump Tweeted, “So many lives [are] lost, all be­cause of gross mis­man­age­ment of the forests”. Two lo­cal gas and elec­tric com­pa­nies face po­ten­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion over a re­ported power-line out­age that al­legedly oc­curred on the morn­ing the blaze started.

WHAT’S THE HU­MAN­I­TAR­IAN COST?

Shock­ingly, over 80 peo­ple have lost their lives and 699 were miss­ing as Closer went to press. With over 10,000 house­holds de­stroyed, fam­i­lies have camped in car parks and des­ig­nated shel­ters. The to­tal cost to the State, in­sur­ers and home­own­ers is ex­pected to top £15 bil­lion.

WHAT’S THE IM­PACT ON THE EN­VI­RON­MENT?

There’s very poor air quality, caus­ing con­cern for peo­ple’s health. Of­fi­cials an­nounced that res­pi­ra­tory hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions have surged and, in San Fran­cisco, the smoke was so thick that schools were closed. Lo­cal wildlife has been badly af­fected, too. Hun­dreds of an­i­mals have been res­cued with ex­ten­sive burns and in­juries.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

Do­nate to Amer­i­can Red Cross to sup­port the peo­ple af­fected by the Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires, or VCA Char­i­ties, who are fundrais­ing for dis­placed an­i­mals. Visit Red­cross.org and Vcachar­i­ties.org

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