California has been known to have terrible wildfires, but over the past couple of months, California has been fighting even worse fires after their hottest summer yet. Recently, Southern California has had fives days straight of fires, reaching large cities such as Los Angles and Ventura. In October, wildfires spread along the coast from just south of Willits all the way down to Santa Ana Park.
The wildfires themselves have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres of land and have killed more than 40 people in the process. The reason? Last spring, the amount of rain they got was considerably larger than last year. The crop that was produced from the rain and the high wind levels made it very easy for the fire to spread quickly and ruin everything in its path.
With the fires occurring randomly, many are unprepared and are unable to make it out in time. Over 40 people and 5,700 homes and buildings have been lost to the fires. Camps have been set up for the 118,000 people who lost their homes. There are billions of dollars worth of damages, and the air quality is threatening even those miles away from the blaze.
People like John Pascoe, a 70-year old man, and his wife, 65-year old Jane Pascoe, lost their home to the fire. The couple themselves barely survived by jumping into their neighbor’s pool and staying there for six hours.
“I just kept going under,” Pascoe told Today News and LA Times, “And I kept saying, ‘How long does it take for a house to burn down?’ We were freezing.”
Jan Pascoe and her husband were not able to get out with many things, but their beloved pet cat was one thing they did save. Once the fire moved on, the Pascoes were able to get out and try to salvage anything from their home, or what was left of it. Their house and cars were destroyed, but Jan Pascoe was able to call her 38-year old daughter, Zoe Giraudo, to tell them they were alright.
Others were not so lucky. With the fires popping up everywhere, survivors going home find nothing but ashes and rubble, though some owners are able to find their pets, mainly cats and dogs that were able to escape the fires. Seventy-five-year-old Valerie Lynn Evans went back into the flames in an attempt to save her dogs, but she was not able to make it back out.
However, it is not just homes the newly homeless are in need of. Californians are in desperate need of food and money. With the increasing numbers in the camps, more supplies are necessary to help those who have been displaced in the shelters, and more money is needed to get more supplies. Non-profit organizations have been accepting these donations to help survivors. Three GoFundMe, Home Care Assistance, and churches in their areas have been raising money, helping the survivors, and providing food and shelters for the families and individuals who were affected by the fires.
The fires might not be stopping anytime soon, but with emotional and monetary support, Californians will be able to rebuild their homes and communities in a matter of time.