Wildfires rage in California as the worst drought in decades has no end in sight

Photo credit: Reuters / Robert Galbraith.
By Anders Lorenzen

Firefighters were the latest victims in California’s ongoing drought that has now lasted for over four years and appear to have no end in sight.

On 11th August four firefighters were injured as they battled the Lodge Fire in northern California’s Mendocino County. The fire was eventually contained but only after over 7,500 acres had burned. The injured firefighters who had been battling the flames had to be airlifted to a burn center at the University of California after they suffered serious but not life threatening injuries.

This year’s wildfires are proving more dangerous than usual due to the ongoing drought situation both in California but also in nearby state Washington.

But so far despite the severe drought, California has not had a truly catastrophic wildfire, which is unusual. But this could be about to change as the humid weather brings along the increased risk of thunderstorms which could start wildfires.

The drought conditions have prompted the state to take drastic action to reduce water usage. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has had to negotiate with Republicans on a deal, but not surprisingly Democrats and Republicans are split on the issue. The Republicans want to build more reservoirs, but to create them you would need to be damming rivers and canyons which would be flooded which damages the environment, Democrats are saying. Despite this Mr Brown said on the 14th of August a deal have been agreed with the Republicans. In the deal the Governor had to compromise as it would cost 25% more that he had earlier said the state could afford.
In total over 500,000 acres in California has been lost to wildfires this season in California, Washington and Oregon and so far the California drought have cost the state $2.2 billion dollars. The California economy are the largest in the US.

Sub edited by Charlotte Paton

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