The Carr Fire, which blazed into the northern California town of Redding Thursday, has grown even larger and deadlier over the weekend, offering a fiery vision of California's future.
"This is climate change, for real and in real time. We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat," The Sacramento Bee wrote in an editorial about the fire Friday.
The fire, which doubled in size Saturday and is only 5 percent contained, has burned 89,194 acres since it sparked a week ago and has lead to six deaths, CNN reported Monday.
Those fatalities included 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe and her great-grandchildren Emily and James Roberts.
The three had been declared missing when their home went up in flames Thursday, and their deaths were confirmed Saturday.
"With a heavy heart we are sad to inform you all that Mel and the great-grandbabies were confirmed to be in the home," surviving family members wrote on a GoFundMe page, as reported by CNN.
Another civilian was also found dead in a house and two people died fighting the fire: Redding fire department Jeremy Stoke and an unnamed bulldozer operator whose death was also reported by EcoWatch Friday.
"This fire is scary to us. This is something we haven't seen before in the city," Redding Police Chief Roger Moore told reporters Friday, according to CNN.
The fire has burned 517 structures and is being fought by 3,000 firefighters, CNN reported.
One factor that makes the Carr Fire particularly dangerous is the way that the flames are interacting with gail-force winds.
"This fire was whipped up into a whirlwind of activity" Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott told BBC News, "Uprooting trees, moving vehicles, moving parts of roadways."
Both fires were spurred on by high temperatures, high winds and dry vegetation. But while last year's fires were driven by winds of 60 miles per hour, the Carr Fire is driven by winds of 10 to 30 miles per hour, and the fire itself is creating its own stronger winds.
"These fire-induced winds were very strong and unpredictable and drove this fire from dry brush and trees into urban areas," University of Los Angeles climate scientist Daniel Swain told The Sacramento Bee.
The dry vegetation is one reason why the 2018 California wildfire season has seen the most acreage burnt by July 9 in ten years, The Mercury News reported.
Dry vegetation is so plentiful because of all the plants killed by the 2012 to 2017 drought, as well as the fact that the winter of 2017-2018 was drier than normal.
"We are going to be dealing with the impacts of that drought for many years," Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean told The Mercury News.
Fire season, which used to begin in October, is also getting earlier and earlier because of global warming, The Sacramento Bee reported.
"We have these long, hot, dry summers that are getting progressively drier," Swain told The Sacramento Bee. "We're not at the end of summer yet."
In Friday's editorial, The Sacramento Bee urged the state to plan for this new normal by improving preparedness and evacuation warning systems, and by taking into account the way that fires are likely to exacerbate the state's housing shortage.
"California must plan now for these and other aspects of global warming, as more of the state becomes too hot, too dry, or too fire- or flood-prone to safely live in, and as more of the world braces for the era of climate refugees," the paper advised.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
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Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.