California is once again battling forest fires, which have already razed 8600 acres of woodland, and currently driving hundreds of residents out of their homes. As of this writing, only seven percent (7%) has been contained, and the still uncontrolled and quickly spreading wildfires have brought on heavy smoke and are causing temperatures to rise at record-breaking levels.
The fire started in El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa last Saturday morning and has since been tearing throughout El Dorado and neighboring woodlands. While residents were given orders to evacuate, about 200 who were at a recreational site in California’s Sierra National Forest, had to be airlifted as emergency response. Mainly because a rapidly-moving blaze named Creek Fire had cut off the only road out of the area.
Pyrotechnic Device ignited in a Party Had Sparked the Forest Fire
Initial investigations by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) revealed that the forest fire was caused by a pyrotechnic device (fireworks) used by a family during a gender-reveal party.
A surveillance camera footage shows that the family had gathered at the grassy edge of the El Dorado Ranch to witness the pyrotechnic effect after someone in the group ignited it. However, the video footage later shows the resulting chaos, in which several members of the family were trying to put out the fire caused by the pyrotechnic, whilst carrying only water bottles.
According to a Cal Fire spokesperson, it does not take much for a heedless act to initiate a wildfire especially during critical fire weather and dry conditions. The district attorney will likely pursue the case and charge the person who ignited the pyrotechnic device with three violations, recklessness, igniting the land and arson. The degree of those violations will determine if the offenses committed is a misdemeanor or felony.
It’s not as if wildfires are something new that people could still be ignorant about the causes and circumstances by which wildfires occur. Historically, especially in North America, most of the forest fires were started by humans. Statistically, the percentage of fires caused by humans vary from region to region. In the U.S. 84% were started by humans while in Canada, 55% of the wildfires that occurred in the region were caused by lightning.
Globally, fire crises have had terrifying consequences not only in terms of economic loss but also subsequent adverse impacts on human health and biodiversity since loss of habitats leads to breakdowns of ecosystems. The World Wide Fund for Nature estimated in their latest report that 75% of all wildfires were started by humans.