Horrific Wildfires Are Scorching the West: Why and How Is This Impacting Western America


Nicholas Lockwood

Have you ever wondered a world where the heat is rampant, the Sun shines a glaring orange, and the forest is aflame? It sounds like a science fiction novel, but this is what is currently happening to the Western United States. Several national forests are burning to the ground, and intense wildfires have had glaring effects on the quality of life around the U.S. especially in the Denver Metro Area. So, what exactly is causing these fires, and how are they impacting the quality of life not only for people living in Colorado, but for everyone living across the United States.

The Causes of the Burning:

Many of the wildfires that have been ravaging throughout the Western United States have been heavily politicized for what is exactly causing them. Many of these fires are resulting due to causation by humans and others from local lightning strikes, which egnite the forests ablaze. Many of these fires can be prevented, but many forests suffer from human management. 

Several forests within America are having large issues with the fires and are burning down at a rapid pace. Many of these causes have been heavily politicized. At the First Presidential Debate, Joe Biden pointed out the disparity with the issues of climate change, and the causing of more intense fires. However, President Trump stated that many of these wildfires are caused by poorly managed forests within many western states including California. Both of these candidates both have a major point to make about how these wildfires are spreading throughout America.

Firstly, the data does support that climate change is currently impacting the health of these forests and increasing the intensity of these fires. Hotter temperatures due to global warming have increased the dryness of the forests. The evaporation of water from the soil causes more dry vegetation that would make these trees or bushes much more easier to combust into flames. The issue with winter ice packs is melting earlier due to warmer temperatures, meaning that the forest would be more dry for a longer period of time. 

Secondly, there are major reasons to support how poor management especially with the national forests within America have heavily contributed to the number of wildfires across the United States. The Washington Post and BBC write that the management with forest fires is critically important for them not to spread rapidly. 

Scott Stephens, a leading authority on forest fires from the University of California pointed out in photos of the large amount of dead trees and dry vegetation being left within California, potentially becoming a huge fire risk. 

These dead trees and other examples of poor management of the forests led to trouble with how these forests can survive a wildfire and continue to make new offspring or trees.

Impacts on Local Populations Around the Blaze:

Around local populations, wildfire has turned the skies in a ferocious orange and murky gray color. Many of these wildfires have had a large amount of smoke engulf the Denver Metro Area and led to horrific air quality. Smoke from the wildfires according to the CDC has large amounts of particulate matter, carbon dioxide/monoxide, and even nitrogenous oxides.

This can cause problems with respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations, and can cause emergency department visits especially with people who have respiratory issues like asthma. This is especially severe due to the Covid-19 pandemic which affects the respiratory system, and can add additional negative effects to the quality of people’s health.  

People can see the blaze burning down the forests in Boulder, and photos of the air being completely orange and polluted have damaging consequences on the health of the forests around the Western United States. These forests are being burnt to the ground, and the intensity of these fires is increasing over a longer period of time and becoming more remote.

Around the globe, the wildfires would release large amounts of CO2 into the air. This would further affect the spread of greenhouse gasses across the globe, during this period of time, as already stated. However, weather patterns and other activities would be affected by the dry smoke preventing substantial change in weather.

Furthermore, the relation to animals is also important because due to the fires, habitats get decimated. This impacts the flora and fauna in the region while having animals that rely on trees or shelter to become exposed. It negatively impacts the stability and survival rate for these animals.

In conclusion, there are many causes and effects of the forest fires that have been impacting the western United States. From the causes of poor management, to the issue of horrific air quality leads to important discussions about the role of the people when it comes to these forest fires. To end off, remember to listen to your local offices and Smokey the Bear, and tell people that little match and combust in a devastating fire