California is in the grip of hundreds of wildfires that have forced residents to flee from their homes. The flames spread fast because of a combination of several factors like an unusual lightning storm coupled with a historic heatwave. The situation has come as a challenge to firefighters and first responders.

As Daniel Swain, a climate scientist, says - “It’s kind of an overwhelming fire siege.” Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed the state is currently battling 367 known fires. He revealed this at a press conference. His words were - “We are challenged right now.” Officials admit that the efforts to control the wildfires suffered because of the absence of backup crews.

These usually comprise prisoners, and this year they are not available due to coronavirus. Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency and sought help from all agencies in and around California.

The Guardian says the Governor confirmed the deployment of all available resources to ensure the safety of different communities as the state tries to come to terms with the wildfires. He assured that the authorities are geared up to meet the challenge despite the strain on resources. The state has to manage the ongoing crisis of fires, and the pandemic, and both are equally important.

Wildfires destroy the environment

Cal Fire says the cluster of wildfires in different counties of California is spread across nearly 46,225 acres. Many buildings and structures have burnt down, and the fires have not yet been contained. The Guardian reminds about similar wildfires three years back that killed 22 and destroyed many wineries.

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Thousands of firefighters have already descended to control the environmental disaster. The state has requested reinforcements from its neighbors. Arizona and Nevada have sent equipment while Texas will send firefighting crews. In the opinion of Chris Fields, an expert, the number of wildfires is on the rise because of climate change.

In his words - “This is going to be our new reality.”

Incidents of this nature lead to loss of lives and property and create an ecological imbalance. The absence of the green cover coupled with the heatwave aggravates the situation, and the attitude of humans is to blame. They cut down trees in the name of development, and the environment suffers. Various international forums have discussed the subject of climate change and global warming.

The world has to act, and one option is to replace fossil fuels with Renewable Energy.

Health issue related to wildfires

The quality of air in areas of wildfires has deteriorated due to the smoke. There is also ash falling from the sky, and the total effect can lead to health issues. These are harmful in the current scenario of the coronavirus pandemic. The poor quality of air leads to breathing problems. The Guardian adds that the authorities had cautioned about the increase of incidents of fire across America’s west and south-west. Predictions that 2020 could get the tag of being one of the hottest and driest years on record. Moreover, this winter, there was inadequate rainfall in San Francisco and Sacramento in February.

Pilot dies while on a water-dropping mission to douse wildfires

According to Sky News, a helicopter pilot lost his life while he was on a water-dropping mission. The chopper crashed in Fresno County, about 160 miles south of San Francisco. CalFire reported this tragedy. California witnessed thousands of lightning strikes over 72 hours. It was the heaviest spate of thunderstorms that struck the state in more than a decade. The state is known as wine country, and the blazes led to the shutdown of a major motorway. The flames trapped motorists who were evacuating the region. Some of them suffered injuries. High-velocity winds fanned the flames, and the dry, parched vegetation added to the devastation.