California’s Wildfires Update


Courtesy of Bill Gabbert

Andrea Rivera, Sports Editor

All over California wildfires are burning in Sierra National Forest, Stanislaus National Forest and the Mendocino Complex fire. The Mendocino Complex Fire is the largest wildfire in state history. These combined fires have caused many days of our summer in Tracy to be indoors due to the amount of smoke blown into the valley and remaining here for days and weeks. The Mendocino Fire, according to Tara Duggan from Chron as of August 20th, has “spread over parts of Mendocino, Lake, Colusa and Glenn counties and is made up of two parts: the River Fire north of Hopland, which is completely contained, and the much larger Ranch Fire northeast of Ukiah, which is 67 percent contained.”

Fires are surrounding the Tracy triangle and with our bay breeze, winds blown into our valley cause the smoky, hazy look we saw almost every day of summer. The smoke can affect many people in multiple ways. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center) says, “Wildfire smoke is a mix of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation, building materials and other materials. Wildfire smoke can make anyone sick. Even someone who is healthy can get sick if there is enough smoke in the air. Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects.” The CDC suggests to always check the weather and smoke decisions and to follow it accordingly to prevent illness.

Here at West, we have experienced many days it was hard to breathe or just be outside for long periods of time. For our cross country team, running at practice was a challenge on hot, smokey days. Senior Leana Jimenez said, “It was definitely harder to practice or workout in that environment because cross country relies heavily on your breathing. Because it wasn’t clean air, I had to work extra hard to breathe or else I would have cramped up.” At many times, some of the runners would wake up feeling like they had sore throats from inhaling the smoke from the nearby fires. However as we shift seasons, we are beginning to see many more days without smoke in the air and a fresh cool environment returning.