A total of 626,216 acres are covered in ash because of the 6,409 acres that have torn across California since the start of 2017, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Los Angeles and Riverside counties were affected by five of the fires, which included the largest brush fire in L.A. history. The La Tuna blaze started Sept. 1 and was contained Sept. 9 after consuming more than 7,000 acres. Out of the 1,400 homes close by, only five were destroyed.
Peter Thomas, sophomore business administration major, and his family were forced out by the ames but they were able to leave unharmed.
“A wild re started up the mountains from where I live and slowly moved toward my home,” Thomas said. “The re burned all the hills around my neighborhood and my back- yard. We were some of the first people evacuated as the ames brushed up against the closest fence to my house.”
Thomas and his neighbors were left with their houses intact, but the damage was evident.
“It is sad to see that my entire neighborhood has black hills now,” Thomas said. “The hills around my neighborhood were engulfed in ames, and for a moment I thought I was going to lose my home.”
California was not the only state across the Pacific Coast affected by the wild res. Oregon also fought the ames at the Columbia River Gorge after illegal reworks caused the Eagle Creek Fire.
Tatiana Davis, sophomore business administration major, witnessed the destructive toll on her home state’s natural beauty.
“It was pretty sad to see the damage that the re had done to the Gorge and how it could have been prevented as well,” Davis said. “I know a lot of people enjoyed hiking the Gorge but now there’s not a view to see anymore.”
Smoke and ash polluted the air for two to three days causing it to be unbreathable. Families were placed in evacuation zones and told to be prepared to leave.
Although the destruction of fires leaves a scar, Daylon Martin, junior graphic design major and resident of Oregon, was able to see how communities came together in a time of need.
“My family and friends were able to volunteer in different ways, whether it was working at the evacuation center for families, giving coffee to the firefighters or helping the evacuated house animals,” Martin said. “The community around those affected really stepped up and supported those in need.”
Besides the support of the community, Martin also realized the need for safety.
“The fire was started by a teenager throwing smoke bombs in the forest,” Martin said. “We as a community of people sharing the forest are only as strong as our weakest link.”
According to the most recent update, the Eagle Creek fire is 46 percent contained because of rain and snow, according to the National Weather Service.
Warnings and fire weather watches while urging residents to use caution for prevention. For more information visit the website at calfire.ca.gov.