Controversies Surrounding Wildfires in California Forests

Controversies Surrounding Wildfires in California Forests

The current event topic of interest is “the consequences of perennial wildfires in California.”The New York Times reports that California fires have far-reaching implications on human health and life expectancy. It further suggests that recent wildfires are characterized by thick smoke that ranks California as a geographic region with the dirtiest air across the globe. In this case, the smog-choked areas of Northern California are listed as the worst regions as far as air pollution is concerned. Currently, its levels of pollutants exceed countries with significant industries, for instance, India and China. Turkewitz and Richtel (2018) report that the recent survey in areas surrounding Paradise fire indicates that there is a sharp increase in respiratory hospitalizations. The upsurge is directly associated with consequences of wildfire smokes.

The impacts of wildfires in California have dramatically affected communities that are within 200 miles from Paradise region. In San Francisco, for instance, the perennial air pollution has the most severe consequences. The thickness of its smoke has prompted the closure of essential facilities like learning institutions. However, researchers linked California wildfires to climate change that has rendered the region dry, and, thus, prone to fires. Pulmonologists from the University of California were part of theNew York Times research team. They corroborated that the spurred dryness is the primary cause of wildfires. California is densely populated, and, thus, pose numerous challenges to firefighters. It implies that it has been difficult for fire extinguishers to contain the spread of wildfires. In this case, many people are relocating to the wooded enclaves of California to overcome the cost of living in urban areas. The other reasons are the need to stay closer to nature and avoid the rising costs of housing.

The issue regarding wildfires reported on the New York Times is an accurate representation of the present situation in California. The region has experienced severe wildfires over the last five years. However, thereport that California has the most polluted air globally iscontroversial. That said, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other renowned environmentalists understand air pollution as not only the problem in the US but across the globe. The pollution statistics, according to EPA, require advanced sampling techniques to understand the current situation (Keith, 2017). The statistics reported in the New York Times, therefore, is questionable. In this case, the world is racing with air pollution as international environment agencies strive to reduce the number of air pollutants across the globe.

The news event reports that there has been a steady increase in air pollutants in California over the last three years. However, the claim is subject to proper research to understand the actual situation. The argument is also contrary to the recent statistics byEPA. The environmental agency reports indicate that the quality of air in the United States has improved since the implementation of the Clean Air Act (Keith, 2017).The regulation contains elaborate provisions that are aimed at reducing the volume of an environmental pollutant, for instance, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particular matter, and ground-level ozone.

Nonetheless, the New York Times report on causes of California wildfire is questionable. The news agency reports that climate change has made the region dry, and, thus, fast spread of fires. Also, it asserts that human activities do not cause a significant proportion of such events. The research byFusco et al., (2016) raises the controversy since it links 21% of the US wildfires to arson, whereas 29% is connected to the burning debris.



Fusco, E. J., Abatzoglou, J. T., Balch, J. K., Finn, J. T., & Bradley, B. A. (2016).Quantifying the Human influence on fire ignition across the western USA. Ecological Applications26(8),


Keith, L. (2017). Environmental sampling and analysis: a practical guide. Routledge.

Turkewitz, J., & Richtel, M. (2018, 11 16). Air Quality in California: Devastating Fires Lead to a

New Danger. New York Times, pp. 14-15. Retrieved from:


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