Californian Wildfires

Climate & Environment
Smoke from US wildfires has reached Europe, satellite images reveal
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the United States on Sep. 15, 2020, showing the fires in the West, the smoke from those fires drifting over the country, several hurricanes converging from different angles, and Hurricane Sally making landfall.
NASA's Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the United States on Sep. 15, 2020, showing the fires in the West, the smoke from those fires drifting over the country, several hurricanes converging from different angles, and Hurricane Sally making landfall. Credit: NASA

According to scientists from the European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, smoke from the wildfires in the western United States has travelled 8,000 kilometres and reached Britain and other parts of northern Europe.

Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Service has stated that "the scale and magnitude of these fires are at a level much higher than in any of the 18 years that our monitoring data covers, since 2003".

Climate & Environment
California wildfires turn Bay Area skies orange
Smoke from the North Complex fire settles over San Francisco, turning the daytime sky a dark orange.
Smoke from the North Complex fire settles over San Francisco, turning the daytime sky a dark orange. Credit: Christopher Michel / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The smoke generated by the wildfires raging across California has turned the Bay Area skies into a deep orange and has caused ash to rain down on San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland on Wednesday morning.

Wildfires are currently devasting large parts of California, Washington and Oregon.

Climate & Environment
Forest fires in California trap over 1.000 people
Forest fires in California trap over 1.000 people
Credit: EeeksterRichard E. Ellis (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Local media has reported that at a campground in a Sierra Nevada National Park that about 1000 people were cut off from the surrounding area. The only access road was impassable due to a forest fire. Firefighters and rescue planes tried to gain access to the area. The campers threatened by the flames were instructed to take refuge in the water of the Mammoth Pool Reservoir, reported "The Fresno Bee", citing a spokesman for the national park.

Climate & Environment
California fires spread, over 119,000 are forced to evacuate
California fires spread, over 119,000 are forced to evacuate
Credit: unsplash.com/Joanne Francis

As the wildfires in California keep spreading, over 119,000 people have been forced to leave their homes. So far, the fires have torched over 900,000 acres of land as 12,000 firefighters fight to control the blazes. The National Weather Service’s Bay Area office has issued a warning that, with more dry thunderstorms expected over the weekend, more fires could be caused in already affected areas by lightning and wind.

Climate & Environment
Californian suffers from shortage of firefighters due to Covid-19 lockdown at prison camps
Californian suffers from shortage of firefighters due to Covid-19 lockdown at prison camps
Credit: unsplash.com / Tom Blackout

According to prison officials, 12 of California's 43 inmate fire camps have been placed on lockdown. As a result, only 30 of 77 inmate crews are available to assist in combating the wildfires.

A spokeswoman for Cal Fire, Battalion Chief Amy Head, has stated that "we’re doing our best to plan ahead" adding: “Thankfully, we haven’t had anything too big to deal with yet".

Climate & Environment
Over two dozens wildfires in California - multiple dead, thousands on the run
Over two dozens wildfires in California - multiple dead, thousands on the run
Credit: unsplash.com / Joanne Francis

The residents of the three affected counties of Napa County, Lake County and Sonoma County have been called on by authorities to leave their homes as multiple wildfires are rapidly spreading and threatening 30,000 homes.

At least four people have died and 550 homes have been destroyed. Over 10,000 firefighters across California have been deployed.