Unprecedented wildfire engulfing the western United States

The scorched land, the weird orange-red sky, the suffocating smoke in the air, the wildfires in the western United States have been burning more and more in the past few days, and there are fires in almost states. In California, Oregon, and northern Washington, which have suffered the worst fires in history, the scene is like the end of the world. Agence France-Presse said that this unprecedented fire has burned nearly 5 million acres of land, almost the size of a New Jersey state. As of the 12th, at least 28 people have been killed by wildfires. In the past three weeks or so, US President Trump has talked a lot about issues and posted a lot of tweets, but has been “silent” about the fire that has displaced tens of thousands of people. This aroused anger and criticism, and Trump will visit California on the 14th to “extinguish the fire” for himself. Portland, Oregon, where the fire is serious, is one of the first areas to be hit by the new crown pneumonia epidemic, and the “black man’s fate is also fate” protests have lasted here for more than 100 days. Local resident Danielle Oliver desperately told the Associated Press reporter: “The epidemic, the protest, and now it is a wildfire. What will happen next?”

“It’s like a war just broke out”

“This is something we have never seen in our life.” It was California Governor Newsom who said this. Here, wildfires are not uncommon, occurring almost every year, but last weekend he stood among the charred trees and yellowish smoke in the northern mountain fire area to warn that California is in a climate crisis of survival. The New York Times reported on the 13th that California currently has more than 20 large-scale wildfires, and three of the five largest wildfires in history are burning. More than 4,000 buildings were destroyed in the wildfire, and more than 3.1 million acres of land were swallowed up, which is about 26 times the area of ​​the state’s fire at this time last year.

Wildfires are equally intense in Oregon and northern Washington. According to data from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, there are currently more than 30 wildfires across the state, covering more than 300,000 acres. More than 40,000 people were evacuated, and about 500,000 people were within the evacuation alert range. The Washington Post said on the 13th that this unprecedented wildfire left large areas of the state with painful traces, and dozens of people were missing because of the wildfire. Oregon officials said they are preparing for a possible “mass death event.” In Washington State, 16 continuous wildfires have burned 626,000 acres of land. “We are experiencing a catastrophic event.” Governor Jay Insley lamented.

The wildfire caused heavy losses to the people and made them homeless. Reuters reported that when Manson, a Phoenix, Oregon resident who had been evacuated in advance, returned to the community, he was shocked to see the melted pickup truck. Like his neighbors, the fire engulfed all their belongings, “it was like a war just broke out.”

Areas other than the above three states were not immune, and more people are living with the highest levels of air pollution in history. The San Francisco Greater Bay Area was swept by smoke and dust from wildfires. During the day, it looked like night. The sky was a weird orange-red, and the ashes that fell from the sky fell on the vehicles, courtyards and roofs. Someone bitterly teased on the Internet “like moving to Mars.” Los Angeles, where the Global Times reporter lives, has been smoggy for several days and visibility is extremely low. At its worst, the sun hangs in the sky like a small round copper plate. The reporter can smell the strong smell of fireworks on the balcony.

According to Agence France-Presse, data from IQAir, a Swiss air cleaning technology company, showed that the five most polluted cities in the world on the 12th were on the West Coast of the United States, from California to Vancouver in Canada. The air was full of smoke and ashes from wildfires. . “It’s like I smoked 100 cigarettes.” A Portland man described how choking the air is.

Regarding the cause of this rare wildfire, the Washington Post quoted the analysis of Fleischman, director of the Oregon Institute for Climate Change, saying that the conditions in these western regions are extraordinary, including long-term climate change, weather conditions before the fire, and western regions. Changes in the lifestyles of the people in the region have caused this terrible situation. There are also reports that the possibility of arson is not ruled out. Currently, an Oregon man, two Washington state men and a California woman have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

The National Weather Service issued a “red warning” on the 13th, stating that southern Oregon and some counties in California may experience windy and dry weather that day, causing new and existing fires to spread significantly.

Trump went to California on Monday to “extinguish the fire”

The White House said on the 12th that Trump will visit McClellan Park in Sacramento County, California on the 14th to hear reports from local and federal fire and emergency officials. The park has always been a base for firefighters in the state. U.S. Political News commented that the announcement came at a time when Trump had not mentioned the wildfires in the western United States in the past three weeks, which caused criticism from outside. It was not until the evening of the 11th that he talked about the disaster publicly for the first time, thanking the firefighters and firefighters on Twitter.

According to the New York Times, Trump’s Twitter on the western wildfire did not mention the residents who have been living under the smoky sky. Many of them were forced to evacuate their homes under the background of the epidemic. Trump’s silence is even more striking because he has spoken out on many other issues in the past week. CNN commented that silence adds to Trump’s history of lack of compassion in the face of natural disasters and the tendency to attack Democrats in handling crises. At a rally in mid-August, when the fire in the northern San Francisco Bay Area burned, his familiar reaction was to accuse the state’s forest management department of not following his advice to clear the forest floor.

Former Democratic U.S. Labor Secretary Richie wrote in the Guardian on the 13th that Trump said a month ago that he wanted to protect residents of Oregon and California from “thugs and robbers”. He also imposed federal law enforcement. Staff were sent to the streets of Portland. Today, Portland is in danger of being burnt down, and Los Angeles is sounding a health alarm. Trump doesn’t care if wildfires destroy the West. One reason is that these states voted against him in 2016, and he still holds a grudge. The New York Times said that Trump has a long-term feud with California. On the 13th, Los Angeles Mayor Jasiti criticized the Trump administration for “burying its head in the sand” on environmental issues.

In Rich’s view, another reason Trump doesn’t care about wildfires is that the fires are related to man-made climate change. He said that since the unilateral decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Trump has always been the most anti-environmental president in American history. Lori Lords, executive director of the advocacy group Climate Forces 2020, said: “I know I shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore, but Trump and his administration’s attitude towards wildfires is infuriating.”

Democrats play climate change card

Following the protests that swept across the United States, wildfires became the latest topic in the US election. On the 12th, the Democratic presidential candidate Biden seized the opportunity and quickly attacked Trump. He said in a statement: “Climate change poses an imminent existential threat to our way of life. Trump tried to deny this fact, but the fact is undeniable.” Biden called for action to be taken to avoid “Today the American West The tragedies experienced by families”.

On the same day, Pelosi, a US Democrat and Speaker of the House of Representatives, co-chaired a video conference on climate change with leaders of the G7 Parliament. Fox News reported that Pelosi linked the wildfires in the western United States to climate change, saying that if Biden wins the November election, he plans to make climate legislation an early agenda. “This is definitely a priority. “. The Capitol Hill website commented that Democrats increasingly label themselves as champions of climate change solutions.

In the Guardian’s view, Trump’s lack of mention of wildfires and the criticism of Washington’s slow actions by some U.S. Democratic leaders are both lukewarm political responses, showing that American politicians are far from ready to take concrete measures. To deal with the reality of climate change, let alone enact laws to stop burning fossil fuels. The newspaper said that Trump will ruin the international climate movement for another four years, but even a Democratic government cannot guarantee a substantial solution to this crisis.

“The future has arrived.” Peter Glake, an expert from the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, wrote in the Guardian. The orange sky and the burning smell of forests, lives, homes and dreams are in the political chaos, economic collapse, and the worst in modern times. In the context of the epidemic, it looks like an apocalypse. An explosive fire is a wake-up call, indicating that there is no time to waste.