Your reminder that the west coast is on fire and the air in most of its major cities is poison:
A Northern California wildfire that has burned through more than 250,000 acres of land has now killed at least 10 people, part of a brutal fire season that includes six of the 20 largest wildfires in the state’s history.
Butte County sheriff’s officials confirmed seven additional deaths from the North Complex Fire on Thursday and said 16 people remain missingin the state’s most deadly blaze this year. A total of 19 people have died in California wildfires in 2020, fire officials said Friday.
Much of the West Coast has been ablaze for days in an event known as a compound disaster, which climate scientists warn is an inevitable result of human-caused climate change. Tens of millions of people’s lives have been affected by the wildfires, which have caused scorching heat and smoke-filled skies.
While the National Weather Service said air quality in the Portland area was expected to start gradually improving Friday after days of smoke, the situation there remained dire. Air quality monitoring website IQAir.com reported that of the five major cities worldwide with the most air pollution, four were on the west coast of North America: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and San Francisco.
In Oregon, record-breaking wildfires continue to move at an alarming pace and had put an estimated 500,000 residents — over 10 percent of the state’s population — under an evacuation warning or order as of Thursday.
About three dozen fast-moving fires have killed at least five people in Oregon and burned more than 900,000 acres, nearly doubling the annual average of acres burned in three days, according to the state’s Office of Emergency Management. Of 36 fires that were active Friday morning, at least 10 were completely uncontained, according to a state dashboard of hot spots.
The Trump administration, it should be noted, is committed to doing less than nothing to combat climate change, and in particular is committed to making air pollution great again. I’m not saying this is important as a lack of compliance with email server management best practices or something, but it still seems pretty bad.