The Dangers and Benefits of the Wildfires

Roselle Rivamonte, Staff Writer

These wildfires have been breaking out all over California. There have been multiple reports about how problematic the fires have become for the environment and to people’s health, but there have also been accounts of the advantages they can have for the forests at large.

Wildfires terrorize lives directly, and the smoke that permeates can affect everyone around the vicinity of the burnings. They spread air pollution not only nearby, but several miles away. The Los Angeles Times notes, for example, that Northern California and the Sierra Nevada wildfires are harming the San Francisco area, showing an orange-reddish sky. These fires also cause breathing trouble in people, children, older adults, etc.

As of 2019, California has the most wildfires in the U.S with over 8,194 of them. Climate change is the main reason that began the flames in California shown in The New York Times. The August Complex Fire was the biggest wildfire in California history with 471,000 acres burned and later on expanding to 877,477 acres. 

The flames mainly affect animals by ruining their habitats.  It has decreased the food supply these animals have. Examples being fish, nuts, seeds, tree leaves, branches, insects, and grass.  According to The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “Fires often cause short-term increases in wildlife foods that contribute to increases in populations of some animals. These increases are moderated by the animals’ ability to thrive in the altered, often simplified, the structure of the postfire environment.”

However, there have been accounts of people being able to rescue animals from the dangerous fires. ABC30 News reports that Blake Cardigan, a man from Clovis, California, was able to save over 1,000 animals during the evacuations.

While the wildfires are very much harmful to the environment and California residents, there could be some benefits to them. The Discourse observes that they can clear out forest floors so flowers and mushrooms are able to grow. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reported that, “Trees die from the terrible insects and disease more than the fire. It can also provide habitats for the animals, since everything will be cleared off. The flames can kill insects and diseases that lay on trees.”

The flames have been worrying many people. Nancy Flores and Yuan Tinio, seventh graders, share some of their worries.

 “I don’t like that there are wildfires around because it’s damaging our forests and the air we breathe,” Flores explains. “The wildfires are affecting me because since I have Asthma I can’t really breathe the air from the outside because of all the ash in the air.”

Nancy shares that she has asthma and the fires have the control to put ash into the air making it hard for her to breathe.

“It’s not actually affecting me,” Tinio says. “In fact, it only affects me because thousands of people lose their homes especially animals that live in the wild and it also affects the environment around me” 

Yuan describes how the wildfires aren’t actually affecting him but on the other hand, it only affects him at heart instead of physically.

Wildfires have made a huge impact on the wildlife. It can put the Earth in a rough spot, but can still possibly be good for the ecosystem. The rampant spread of the flames have changed California citizens’ way of life, with their homes being overtaken and being forced to evacuate. The California Wildfires, as terrifying they can be, can still lead to potential prosperity to the forests.