Written by Julianne Foster
Across the state, Californians have been living under red skies and dense smoke that looks like low-hanging fog, giving their everyday lives an ominous appearance. While some may enjoy how it brings Star Wars fantasies to life in experiencing a moment on Tatooine under a red sun, the widespread fires continue to burn millions of acres.
According to the Cal Fire update on Monday, around 16,500 fire fighters have been overworked to contain 28 fires. Since August 15, there have been 24 fatalities and over 4,200 structures destroyed. From the beginning of this year, it has been calculated that more than 3.2 million acres have burned. Santa Ana winds and intense dry heat have fueled these fires with little hopes of immediate containment. Because of this there, have been thousands of evacuations and power outages across the state.
The Valley Fire in San Diego began on September 5 in the Southeastern area of Alpine. They are predicting an increase in temperatures in the middle of the week, while firefighters are continuing to locate and put out hot spots while containing the perimeter. The El Dorado Fire was recently reported as 44% contained at 14,478 acres, thanks to the incredible work of so many brave firefighters.
San Diego County has established a Local Assistance Center for those affected by the fires, which should not continue to grow as the fires are increasingly contained and evacuation orders, warnings, and road closures are lifted. In total, the Valley Fire damaged 11 structures, destroyed 61, and injured three people.
Even with the fires seemingly under control, the air quality in surrounding San Diego cities has become increasingly worse. Some restaurants have experienced a decrease in customers as people do not want to sit outside following COVID-19 regulations while breathing such toxic air.
This has already been a busy year with so many social, political, and environmental issues all occurring in the midst of a pandemic. The addition of red smoky skies has given residents the appropriate apocalyptic aesthetic, which corresponds with so many negative events.