The West Coast is still in a very active and dangerous wildfire season.

Along the West Coast from California all the way up to Washington, flames from full wildfires are taking down what once were beautiful trees and filling the sky with smoke.

These unpredictable and dangerous blazes have caused many homes of people and wildlife to be destroyed. Wildfires expand quickly with just a gust of wind, sending smoke and flames a large distance. 

Even though many of the fires that are happening currently were spread by the wind, a fire in Oregon was caused by something else. Local news source KGW reported about this rapidly spreading wildfire, saying, “The forecasted wind patterns, hot dry weather, and potential for lightning are making a challenging environment for increased fire in the coming days,’ said Brown.”

Throughout the state of Oregon, there are 14 active fires and 330,518.47 acres burned. Gov. Kate Brown has enacted the Emergency Conflagration Act, which will allow the Office of State Fire Marshal to go and move out resources to assist the local fire departments. 

The press office for the State of Oregon Newsroom said that, “This declaration clears the way for additional resources to respond to support the local fire service agencies. The OSFM will continuously assess response needs with the forecasted weather and fire conditions and bring in additional task forces through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System (OFMAS).”

Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery has been up to date on how fast the fire is spreading as well as how to prevent the fires. All over the state, campsites and recreational areas have been restricting fires in hopes to lower the risk of starting more. 

Tom Fields, a Fire Prevention Coordinator, stated that, “More than 70% of Oregon’s wildfires are human-caused. We all have a role to play in mitigating wildfire. Think before you strike a match, flick your cigarette or use equipment that can cast sparks, and always have tools on hand to put a fire out.” 

Moving down the coast, California has many fires going on as well. This is according to the California Statewide Fire Summary, on September 14, which said, “As of this morning, there are 7,882 firefighters making progress on 10 major wildfires and three extended attack wildfires in California. Yesterday, firefighters also responded to 19 new initial attack wildfires across the state … Since the beginning of the year, 357,278 acres have burned in California.”

A percentage of the wildfires that are creating panic across the West Coast have not only been from the winds blowing or extreme heat but from people who have not been careful with the power of a single spark. 

Climate change has played a large part in the devastating development of these fires as well. NPR reports that within the past three decades, the increasing heat waves have made the fires occur more often and be more detrimental. In the past five years, California has set a record for the most forest fires in state history, according to NPR

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection advises all California residents to have a fire escape plan on how to stay prepared in the case of and during a fire, as well as what to do afterwards. Everything should be premeditated before a wildfire, such as having battery powered radios and knowing where to grab one’s belongings in order to get out in time. 

Wildfires are unpredictable, unplanned and dangerous. Practicing caution with campfire sparks and creating escape plans in case of a fire are important steps residents can take to stay safe.