Nobody Knows How Wildfire Season Is Gonna Go
Almost like clockwork, every summer sees new disasters. Hurricanes come up the East Coast, while large swaths of the West Coast just kinda catch fire. Each year it seems new records for tragedy are broken, and it takes bravery beyond belief for emergency responders to save the lives they can. It takes a ton of hard work and preparation to be ready to come in during a disaster like a wildfire, and this year looks to be a Mount Everest-sized shit pile.
As far as the fires themselves go, the state of California is hardly two years removed from the worst fire season on record. And due to a refocusing of budgetary stuff, the Forest Service has cut down on "prescribed burns," which help prevent the big wildfires from getting out of control way ahead of time. This means there's a lot of loose, flammable stuff out there just waiting to dance on Smokey Bear's ashy corpse while wearing his hat. They're already predicting an "above-average" fire season, and studies are also showing it to be pretty dry outside, which means even more fire-friendly conditions. If you're in LA, bummed that Burning Man got canceled, don't worry, it's coming to you.
Also, worth noting, the seasonal firefighters began to report for their jobs earlier this month. The normal setup would be a barracks or campsite, which, as you could probably imagine, is not gonna be the world's most hygienic or socially-distanced place. They're going to have to take extra steps to ensure cleanliness, but because of the lack of a plan coming down from on high, very little of it will be uniform and could vary crew by crew from Alaska to Arizona.
The other big nail in the corona coffin is that a significant chunk of the firefighting force is prison labor (which is a whole other issue altogether). Due to the state of California needing to make major budget adjustments in the wake of COVID-19, a bunch of prisoners are getting early releases, which in turn means there's a depleted firefighting force. Yeah, it's generally good not to force slave labor into life or death work, but it's just another thing that the state wasn't prepared to handle. They're going to have to bring in outside professionals, which is also going to cost ridiculous amounts of money. We can't even make a "Do you think money grows on trees?" joke because there aren't going to be any fucking trees left.
Top Image: Erland De Vienne/Wiki Commons