The most terrifying day of my life was when my family and I were forced to evacuate from the Silverado Fire last October.
My large neighborhood was given little notice before we had to pack up our things and leave, as there was an imminent risk of the flames jumping from the nearby hills and threatening residences.
We were incredibly blessed that our house ended up being saved from the raging fires, but I never want to go through that again.
That is why California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL Fire, Director Thom Porter’s recent comments about the upcoming fire season are incredibly alarming and important.
“Every acre in California can and will burn someday,” Porter said earlier this month, according to KGO-TV.
“I need not say here in the Bay Area how devastating it is when your hillsides are on fire, some of your communities are on fire, and you’re deep in smoke that looks like Armageddon for a week on end.”
“There’s no sugar coating it. It looks like fire season 2021 is going to be a rough one in California, and throughout much of the West, unfortunately,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain told CNN.
“A combination of factors — including short-term severe to extreme drought and long-term climate change — are in alignment for yet another year of exceptionally high risk across much of California’s potentially flammable landscapes,” he added.
There has been an ongoing debate whether the root cause of the fires is poor forest management or climate change, but in reality they likely both play a role.
Electrical companies such as SoCal Edison and PG&E have also been the subject of numerous lawsuits following fires, because their equipment can sometimes lead to the outbreak of these massive fires.
“We know these outages are painful, especially during a pandemic when many [customers] are working and learning from home,” SoCal Edison said last month amid the news of a dangerous fire season, according to City News Service.
“We use Public Safety Power Shutoffs as a last resort during extreme weather conditions so a spark from our equipment does not start a catastrophic wildfire and to keep communities safe. We are making improvements in how we communicate with [customers] and how we help you prepare for emergencies like PSPS.”
Those who live in California or other wildfire-prone regions should be aware of the risk fires pose and have a plan in place in case they do need to evacuate.
The spacing between trees is crucial to reduce the spread of wildfires! Trimming trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees can make your property more #WildfireReady! Learn more ways to prepare your home at https://t.co/d34bx6Xa9y pic.twitter.com/lKSXvGoePR
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) May 11, 2021
Removing highly flammable fuels that surround communities is just one way we help protect communities from dangerous wildfires. You can do your part to make your community more #WildfireReady by creating defensible space & hardening your home! #WildfirePreparednessWeek pic.twitter.com/xIXa6W8AIT
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) May 7, 2021
Building an emergency safety kit and removing potential fire hazards off of one’s own property are two very effective ways to have some control over the situation.
Unfortunately, the average American cannot do much to stop wildfires from occurring, but they should be aware of the risks such disasters pose to life and personal property.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.