In November of this year, two fires broke out in Los Angeles and Butte County, named the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire.
The fires, which were among the deadliest in California’s history, devastated over 200,000 acres, killed 88 people combined and even closed schools in the surrounding area that were affected by the smoke.
Firefighters from all across the state rushed to help battle the fires, and donate what they could in support. Around 20 Colorado firefighters also traveled to help, bringing along extra fire engines.
In Livermore, schools were forced to close as a result of the harsh smoke from the Camp Fire. At least 256 other schools have closed due to the fires and smoke, with some being closed for weeks.
The air quality reached hazardous levels, with the air quality index reaching over 301. Many have been warned of the dangerous aftereffects of the smoke, including an uprise in asthma, lung disease and many more defects. Small portions of metals had been detected in the air following the fires.
In an effort to combat increased medical risks as a result of the smoke, stores such as Home Depot, Kelly-Moore Paints and local police departments handed out free N95 masks to families in need. However, the masks quickly ran out due to the large demand.
It is still unknown what caused the Woolsey Fire, however, the winds caused it to spread rapidly, reaching uncontrollable levels, and spreading through Liberty Canyon and reaching near Calabasas.
Multiple celebrity houses have been damaged from the fire, including stars Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Robin Thicke and Gabe Kapler. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had hired private firefighters in an effort to ensure their $60 million mansion.
Hemsworth and Cyrus donated $500,000 to fire victims. Other celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Khloe Kardashian and Guy Fieri have also donated supplies and money to affected families
The fire in Paradise has rumored to be connected to the Pacific Gas and Electric company, also known as PG&E, with some claiming that they are responsible for the initial spark that started it.
In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Travis Miller, a Morningstar utility analyst stated, “PG&E still faces a very rough road going forward…and we think that’s still a legitimate assumption.
As of now, the case against the company is still ongoing, however, state officials have discovered a possible fault in equipment near the initial ignition point. 35 families who were affected by the fires have come forward to sue PG&E, trying to make up for the losses.
Overall, the fires are estimated to have done around $15 billion in damages.
Jose Garcia, the student assistant for Express advisor Melissa Korber, was also affected by the Camp Fire. “We bought a house, and we never got to actually move in,” he said, “I’ve never had anything like that happen before… it’s hard. The hardest thing is that we are the lucky ones compared to other families.”
As a result of the fires, many were and still are in need of assistance. If you wish to donate, you can call your local fire department for details or the American Red Cross to locate drop off centers.