California wildfires have burned over 4.1 million acres since the start of the year, killing 31 people and destroying nearly 9,200 structures, marking the most destructive fire season the state has ever seen, and affecting members of the community who live outside San Francisco.
“I’ve been evacuated twice,” history teacher Jason Enevoldson said. “We had about an hour to pack up and get out. The issue is what you are going to take with you while facing the prospect of never returning to your home.”
Those living in affected areas have experienced stress from wildfires, warranting an increase in hospital visits.
“Our site visits have tripled during the fire season for a variety of reasons,” Stephen Cady, Emergency Medicine Specialist at Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport, said, “the main one being an increase in poor psychological health amongst patients in the affected areas.”
Californians who were not directly impacted by the fires still felt their effects.
“We had lots of smoke that took over the city,” junior Jean-Luc Desnoyers-Piña said. “Experiencing an orange sky and poor air quality was scary and shows that the fires affect everyone.”
California’s firefighting resources were spread thin due to a more severe fire season, and some residents were left defenseless.
“It took about five days for help to come,” Enevoldson said. “I have a friend who was defending his property with a hose and his teenage daughter. It was really scary.”
Wildfires have consistently been hurting families, making many tired residents consider moving.
“This year was super stressful,” Enevoldson said. “ Fingers crossed we’re done for the year.”