The western United States is on fire and nobody is talking about it.
I understand that this year, there is so much to talk about and so much to cover, but the fires on the West Coast need to be widely acknowledged and talked about.
As a member of a media organization myself, I understand that we currently have an abundance of news between the COVID-19 pandemic, varying social movements and the upcoming presidential election, but we as a society still need to take note of these wildfires.
As of Sept. 8 California has 23 active wildfires impacting 2,178,015 acres according to the California government website. To put that into perspective, that's about roughly 6,223 Valpo campuses on fire.
Colorado currently has five active, not fully contained, wildfires spanning over 287,904 acres according to Colorado 9 News. That’s about 833 Valpo campuses.
In the second week of August, I was able to visit Colorado. While there, I got to see some of the direct impacts of these fires, and this was before things got really bad.
Upon flying in, the mountains were very hazy but I could see them. Fast forward to six days later, the mountains and a majority of the ground were invisible due to the extreme smokiness caused by the fires.
Unfortunately, on one of my last days I was in the Rocky Mountain National Park, the same day the Fort Collins fire started, which was able to be seen from the National Park. In just a few hours it was easy to see how quickly these fires spread just judging by the smoke.
I can only imagine how much worse it has gotten as these fires continue to grow.
Fires in the western United States, specifically California, have begun to become a yearly thing. Many people don’t seem to notice or care.
Once wildfires begin, I understand there is little we can do. The best course of actions is to contain them and let them run their course but when there are so many fires at once it becomes harder for wildlife and fire officials to quickly and effectively contain them all.
These fires not only impact the ecosystem and wildlife, but it displaces many people as evacuations are called for.
Even in areas that aren't directly experiencing fires are receiving the impact of them. The past week the western United States hit high temperatures with low air quality thanks to the fires.
Not to mention that only days after these high temperatures, Denver, Co. received snow.
It’s important that we pay attention to these fires and acknowledge their impact. Global warming is a real threat and these fires prove it. As global warming continues, there is only going to be more fires.
Of course, it doesn’t help when the current executive branch denies global warming.
Pay attention to these fires, donate to organizations that help rehabilitate nature and animals or to organizations that provide relief to those displaced by the fires. Most importantly, educate yourself on them and the effects of global warming.
We cannot live in ignorant bliss.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.