The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for entire Northern California as it is all set to contend with two new blazes. The heatwave coming from the Western States along with dry winds, have increased the chances of another wildfire in the region.
Residents who faced bad air quality in the last few weeks got some respite in the last few days. But they are now living in fear that another wildfire may worsen the air quality further and cause severe health problems, especially for children and older people. The new fire that broke out on Sunday has already destroyed nearly 7000 acres within a span of five hours near Redding in Northern California. The fast-moving Zogg fire is expected to cause a lot of harm in the coming days, and this can worsen the air quality in the surrounding region. Early in the day, another Glass Fire that started in Napa Valley wine county near San Francisco has already damaged nearly 2500 acres within a matter of few hours. Such fires are not giving respite to the citizens who are already facing the wrath of severe wildfires since the last few weeks.
According to the weather service officials, both the Northern as well as the southern region of California are exposed to critical risks for fire weather in the upcoming days. However, some meteorologists say that due to stronger winds, the Northern region is more exposed to such danger when compared to Southern California. Residents are having a tough time coping up with power cuts, and they are not able to run air conditioners to maintain the indoor air quality. The biggest utility of the state PG&E has said that it planned to cut off the power supply to as many as 89000 customers from Monday. This will be done in several parts of Northern and Central Sierra region. It may also be extended to several parts of the San Francisco Bay area. The service provider is cutting off the power supply as a preventive measure to avoid igniting fires.
Northern California is also under threat from the August Complex Fire which is still burning about 130 miles north of San Francisco. This enormous fire happens to be the largest wildfire in the history of the state, and it has so far destroyed close to 900000 acres of forests. This was the biggest contributor to bad air quality in the region in the last few weeks. Experts say that the air quality may not reach very low levels as was the case a few weeks ago. But it can still be very poor due to the offshore flow. Sacramento and San Francisco are likely to get severely affected due to such weather conditions in the upcoming days.The not so encouraging news about the wildfires is that neither the August Complex nor the Creek Fire is contained yet, and officials estimate that only about 50% of it is under control so far.
Given this situation, they can continue to spew smoke and spoil the air quality in the nearby regions. It all depends on the wind, and it can even affect the air quality hundreds of miles away from the actual spot. Experts analyzing the air quality say that people who are having respiratory ailments are likely to get more affected with such harmful air. When this lasts for many days, their health condition can worsen and lead to complications. The region has already seen a rise in the number of such cases, and many people are getting hospitalized due to bad air quality. For most normal people, the ill effects of such polluted air last for a short duration, and they get better as the air quality improves after a few days. However, when people have some underlying health condition like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, they can face severe problems. In such cases, the patients are advised to stay indoors and use the air conditioning units in the recirculate mode so that it can filter indoor air.
As many regions of Los Angeles and San Jose are expected to reach triple-digit temperatures this week, the load on air conditioners and fans will be very high. The power cuts can make the situation worse in these regions, and authorities are working hard to provide uninterrupted power access to the residents. The heatwave usually does not trigger a fire in the forest unless the vegetation is dry. However, as the region has not experienced rain in recent months, the vegetation is very dry, and even a small spark can trigger a huge fire in the forests in this season. As the temperature increases, the dew point also decreases, and this can result in low levels of humidity. All these factors create a conducive atmosphere for wildfires, and this can spread at a rapid pace destroying thousands of acres within a matter of few hours.
Many residents have moved to different states due to wildfire. Some regions close to the forests have been completely destroyed, and many people have lost their homes and all belongings in the wildfire. As they have nothing left in the region, they are moving to safe areas in other states so that the future generation can at least have a good and clean place to lead their lives. Patients suffering from underlying health conditions are having a lot of health complications, and their only hope is that the air quality may improve in teh coming days and provide some relief.
This is a difficult time for many people who have lost homes and property in the wildfire. They have to begin life from scratch and look for means to survive this crisis. Apart from that, the worsening air quality has aggravated the health crisis for many young children. Doctors say that even though this bad air quality does not affect children on an immediate basis, long term exposure to such air can lead to several health complications and cause lung diseases in the future.