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There have been nearly 5000 fires in California since the start of 2018.
The fire season has been dominating the news.
“This has turned into another record-setting fire season.”
“Now the largest in state history.”
“Really there's no end in sight."
It's hot.
It's dry.
It's windy.
Just about everything on the ground is flammable.
But there's one thing that's consistently making wildfires in California worse and
worse and worse:
Us.
At this point, even calling them “wild” fires might be a misnomer, because most of them
are not natural. Humans are responsible for starting a whopping 84% of them.
The northern California Carr fire for example, was started by sparks from a car tire' rim.
And in southern California, the Holy Fire just outside of LA started after a suspected arson.
These are just two of the fires currently active in the state.
So far in 2018 629,000 acres have burned.
That's nearly 3 times as much compared to the same time period in 2017.
What makes these fires so dangerous, damaging, and therefore costly is that more human-made
infrastructure is getting caught in the flames.
This map highlights the parts of California most prone to fires, and it's no surprise
that — yeah — that's where these fires are.
But compare it to
this map, which shows population density growth projections.
Put them together, and it's clear:
California's population is growing out from urban centers
directly into the areas
at the highest risk for fire.
Meanwhile, the state is spending more and more to fight fires each year,
as more and more people move into areas that put them in harm's way.
“It's up to all of us to protect and preserve the forests we have.”
So, since we made this mess worse, what can we do?
“‘That's a good job!’
said Smokey the Bear.”
Being mindful of how we spark these fires is a good start,
but the bigger problems contributing to this — like man-made climate change — are unlikely
to reverse.
And despite the risks, humans keep moving into these areas.
“Fires creeping real real close to some residences up here.”
"By 2050 another 645,000 houses will be built at areas at very high risk for wildfires."
We have the opportunity to get out of the way of wildfires, and let nature run its course.
But will we?
“Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”
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加州為何總是起火? (Why is California always on fire?)

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Evangeline 發佈於 2018 年 9 月 12 日    Amber Li 翻譯    April Lu 審核
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