Mendocino Complex Fire Now the Largest in California History
California's disastrous wildfire season has surpassed last year's historically destructive season in at least one respect.
"It's not stopping," Red Cross disaster services worker Renato Lira told The Guardian. "People thought this year was going to be a break."
The Mendocino Complex Fire has burned 283,800 acres and 75 residencies so far. It was 30 percent contained as of Monday evening, CNN reported. Luckily, no one has been injured.
It was formed by two fires, the Ranch and River Fires, in the Northern California area around Clear Lake.
CalFire spokesperson Tricia Austin told The Guardian that the area was especially fire prone because of its mix of few houses and small towns scattered between large swaths of dry vegetation, from pines to oaks to grassland.
"All the fuels are receptive and the fire is being pushed erratically," Austin said. "They're dry and it's hot and we've got low humidities."
Red Cross worker Dene Shaver said residents of the region were tired of the yearly risk and considering leaving.
"The California people are sort of over it," Shaver told The Guardian. "They want to know why this keeps happening."
"It is our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires," deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Scott McLean told The Huffington Post Monday.
There are currently 23 uncontained fires burning in the state, according to CalFire.
Another fast-moving fire, the Holy Fire, ignited near Trabuco Canyon in Southern California Monday, burning 4,000 acres and forcing communities and campgrounds to evacuate, ABC 7 reported.
"Fire travels faster than you think," evacuee Tilson Shumate told ABC 7. "It's an incredible sensation to be in this and to be faced with life and death. We think we're ready to die, but are we? I don't know, man. I don't want to go like this, Lord, get us out of here."
The many fires are also impacting air quality in California and its neighbor Oregon.
The number of "Spare the Air" days in Sacramento in Northern California, days on which air pollution levels are unsafe for children and those with respiratory ailments and residents are requested to reduce emissions, is on track to surpass the previous two years' already historically high number of 17, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Air quality in Southwest Oregon's Rogue Valley was declared "hazardous" over the weekend as wind blew smoke from two wildfires burning in the state, The Associated Press reported Monday.
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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