The year 2020 has brought a lot of unexpected changes. For example, a national global pandemic, but there are also other issues happening besides the virus, such as the amount of forest fires that have occurred in 2020 and are also drastically going to affect the environment.
In California this year more than 4 million acres were burned which is the most ever recorded in history. There were 20 separate fires broken out between three zones; the Canyon Zone, the Deer Zone, and the Calaveras Zone. In addition, the fires will continue to burn and carry outside of those zones. It will take at least a couple of years for the forest to even start to grow back and around 18,800 structures were destroyed in the process.
Environmental Science and Biology teacher Taylor Yates gives valuable information on the positives and negatives of wildfires.
“Clearing the undergrowth and debris would have helped, but fires are a part of nature and need to be allowed to occur to allow for proper nutrient cycling, and helping get rid of diseased vegetation, and help the decomposition occur faster,” Yates said.
Yates explained that each fire is different and the amount of damage occurred will depend on the process of regrowth.
“It will take years for it to get back to what it once was,” Yates said. “It all depends, though, on the habitats around the area, and how much damage occurred. Every situation is different.”
When wildfires occur, one of the biggest negative outcomes is the destruction of habitats and wildlife.
“As with all fires, the wildlife is going to be affected,” Yates said. “They will have to find new sources of food and water, while the habitat regenerates, but all the new growth that will occur from the excess nutrients will be phenomenal.”
The fast and easy spreading of wildfires when there is overgrowth is going to be the cause of more mass destruction, but they are also an essential part of rejuvenating the environment.
“Nature is amazing, and it can replenish where there is seeds and soil,” Yates said.
If you are interested in donating to a fundraiser to help with survivors and wildlife the Bay Area Wild Relief Fund, Western Wildfires Disaster Relief, and The Farmworker Project Relief are all GoFundMe organizations you can donate to.