PROTECT WILDLIFE AND HUMANS - HELP PREVENT WILDFIRES BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
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Wildfires are a leading cause in deforestation, the removal of trees and forests all over the world, and what makes it worse is that 90% of wildfires are caused by humans. It’s no secret that humans are a danger to the environment when it comes to our lifestyle, including pollution, deforestation, and the trash we leave behind. But, we leave behind matches, lit campfires, cigarettes, and other things that can cause wildfires that have the power to change things. This impacts the wildlife that lose their homes, food, and maybe their lives. This can be changed if we tighten regulations on letting in things that can cause fires that make incredible damage.
Frantic evacuations of humans to get away from wildfires often leave the animals to fend for themselves. One major wildfire that has happened recently was the Eagle Creek fire in the Columbia River gorge in Washington and Oregon. It was reported September 2nd, 2017 at 4 PM in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area near the town of Cascade Locks, Oregon. It grew to 3,000 acres overnight. On the morning of September 5th, the fire grew to over 20,000 acres. At its biggest, it grew to 48,861 acres. This wildfire destroyed hundreds of houses, properties, and would force to evacuate hundreds of people. Tons of wildlife were found trapped between debris from trees and buildings. About 150 hikers were stranded when the fire broke out. They were found by the Gorge. One of the people who stepped up to rescue them was an Air Force Reserve medic. He described what happened and who the hikers were. “‘There was a lady who was pre-diabetic, one who had asthma, a few who weren’t really in very good shape. And some kids. That was my biggest concern, was the kids. One little 2-year-old said to her dad, ‘Daddy, I’m cold.’ And man, that just tears at your heart.’” The cause: a 15 year-old playing with fireworks in the middle of a fire ban. He was sentenced to 5 years of probation and 1,920 hours of community service. His mistake caused about $12 million in damage.
Another major wildfire that has happened recently was the Black Forest Fire in Colorado. This started June 11, 2013 in Black Forest, Colorado in El Paso County near Colorado Springs. The blaze killed two people, a couple whose bodies were found by their car in the garage, belonging already packed. It burned 509 houses that were hidden in the forest, tucked away in the trees. It burned 14,280 acres of property and forest. This resulted in $420 million in damages and losses. The investigators have eliminated the possibility of natural causes, so that only leaves that it was human-caused. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office released a police report that states: “The only clearly established fact was that no natural causes existed and thus the fire was human caused”. They further explain this saying: “A potential cause associated with the metal particles cannot be ruled out, or positively identified. A potential cause associated with an intentional ignition is not supported by the evidence or circumstances, but cannot be completely ruled out. The origin of the fire is in an area that is not readily accessible from a roadway, allowing an easy escape, as is typical in intentionally set Wildland fires. There was no evidence of an other miscellaneous cause such as blasting, fireworks, welding, target shooting, etc”. They have not concluded on a final answer about what started this catastrophic conflagration, but they have finalized that it was human-caused.
Finally, another recent wildfire was the Rim Fire. It began to burn in the Stanislaus National Forest in California and the Yosemite National Park in the steep mountains. The fire started August 17, 2013 and burned 257,000 acres. This catastrophic fire burned for nine weeks before firefighters were able to get it under control. The man responsible was 32-year old Keith Matthew Emerald. He was on a hunting trip when he started an illegal hunting fire. Investigators searched his car and belonging, expecting to find evidence in his phone or computer. During which, they asked Emerald in multiple interviews about how he started it. All of his responses were different. He said it was started by illegal pot growers, inadvertently started a rock slide, in which they made sparks and lit into a fire, and starting a fire and threw trash in it as it grew into a blaze and became uncontrolled. The police and investigators have ruled out everything other than intentional fire-starting. The Rim Fire became the biggest fire to burn the Sierra Nevada. It burned 11 residencies, and caused 10 injuries.
Sign this petition to show your support for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to tighten regulations to prevent human caused wildfires and save the wildlife that use the forests as their home. This can make an impact on how to prevent further problems with forests, and potentially save the planet.
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