The Torch

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Smoke in the Air

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Throughout 2017 and 2018, wildfires have burned across California, consuming thousands of homes and costing millions of dollars.  Smoke fills the air in the large region around the fires, hindering any physical activity including school sports. Dozens of lives have been lost to these fires, from civilians trying to flee to firefighters working to contain the fires.  These past two years have been extremely bad for California, and the situation seems to only be getting worse.

Officials are having a very tough time containing the three fires currently raging in California.  The ¨Camp Fire¨ and the Woolsey Fire are both currently about 25% contained, making it extremely tough on officials to control the spread.  It has gotten so bad for the officials that only two months into the fiscal year, the fire department has already exceeded its budget. These fires have devastated the region, completely incinerating the town of Paradise.  48 people were unable to make it out, burning alive in their homes and cars.

Although the exact cause of these fires is unknown at this time, many people assume its due to faulty infrastructure.  A lawsuit regarding these fires has arisen against the utility companies for not maintaining its electrical lines properly.  This isn’t the first fire that the utility companies have been blamed for. The San Bernardino pipeline explosion in 2010 killed eight people and destroyed millions of dollars of property, causing massive backlash against PG&E and eventually getting the company a criminal sentencing.  We could see a similar outcome after these new fires are put out.

As these fires burn, the rest of California is affected.  Smoke blankets the state, causing health problems and school cancellations.  Livermore´s air quality rating peaked at 272 on Wednesday, and it is set to increase in the next coming days.  This morning, the air quality started to climb again from 202, meaning today could possibly be the worst day so far in terms of air quality.  Health officials are warning the public to stay inside, even though some schools in the bay area are still in session.

Here at LHS, finals week is set to be affected by the smoke, PE classes mostly.  Officials advise everyone to stay inside as much as possible to avoid the smoke. This smoke will hopefully drift away soon, as health and education are at risk.  School today was almost canceled altogether due to how bad the smoke is. All we can do now is stay inside and hope the smoke clears up

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