Every year, California is engaged in an epic “Man versus Nature” battle against thousands of wildfires that rage across the land, claiming lives and inflicting billions of dollars in damage.
With the dreaded fire season approaching, there is a new element to be fearful of, COVID19 spread.
Authorities in California fear this pandemic will threaten firefighting efforts, as the outbreak has already forced them to postpone and even cancel large training exercises.
More than 2,000 wildfires in California over the last five years have burned 100 million acres, displaced hundreds of thousands of residents, and taken the lives of more than 150 people.
Heat and drought from climate change are believed to be the culprits of creating highly combustible forests and underbrush.
On the other hand, downed power lines during high winds, creates sparks that very often ignite those ready-to-burn forests.
To mitigate fires every year, state officials have been trying to clear as much dried forest and underbrush as possible so that fires have less fuel when they ignite.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has now forced “controlled burns” to be cancelled and has delayed inspections in those at-risk areas.
Before COVID-19 started, correspondent Mike Kirsch went to Paradise, California, the scene of the most catastrophic wildfire in the state’s history that burned down the town in 2018.