More than two million hectares of vegetation have been consumed by the flames since mid-August, from the Canadian border to Mexico. The death toll was 35 on Tuesday and is likely to increase further. Near Los Angeles, firefighters are working hard to protect a 116-year-old observatory.
Dozens of fires continued on Tuesday, September 15, to ravage the American West. A fire that has been burning for more than a week near Los Angeles threatens to engulf a historic observatory and expensive telecommunication towers built on the hills overlooking the California city.
This fire, called “Bobcat Fire”, was no longer on Tuesday morning about 150 meters from the astronomical observatory at Mount Wilson, 116 years old, warned the rescue and stressed that their team on the ground, with the support of air resources, was preparing to meet the flame with using bulldozers. According to officials at the observatory, all staff have already been evacuated.
We thank the firefighters who are on the ground and defend our observatory as well as pilots who fly aircraft for firefighting. Here is a picture from firefighters crossing the “Einstein Bridge” from the 100-inch dome. #BOBCATFIRE pic.twitter.com/yrbLPtnhJh
– Mount Wilson Observatory (@MtWilsonObs) September 15, 2020
Firefighters have been fighting the fire since September 6, but it was only 3% content, compared to 6% previously. Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain David Dantic said the flame, located about 25 miles northeast of downtown, had already covered more than 16,000 acres.
Many neighborhoods near the flames were ordered to prepare for a possible evacuation, as authorities feared the destruction of about 80 historic cottages in the Los Angeles National Forest.
A total of 27 fires were still raging across California. They have already killed 25 people since mid-August and mobilized more than 16,600 firefighters on Tuesday. Forest fires of unprecedented proportions are also raging in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, plunging the west coast of the United States into record pollution.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has claimed that breathing air in fire-affected areas one day is like smoking 400 cigarettes. According to the US Meteorological Service, the exhaust gases are so large that they have begun to reach the east coast and Europe.
In total, more than two million hectares of vegetation have been consumed since mid-August from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. The fee rises to 35 dead and is likely to increase further.
Kamala Harris in the field
After Donald Trump’s controversial visit on Monday, Tuesday, it was Kamala Harris, a vice presidential candidate along with Democrat Joe Biden, who was in place. The California senator traveled to Auberry, 50 km northeast of Fresno, a small town destroyed by one of the largest fires in the state’s history.
“It is sad but these fires and their destruction are highly predictable,” Kamala Harris told reporters. “Everything burned except the fireplace. These chimneys remind me of tombstones.”
For Donald Trump, the fires are mainly due to alleged poor “forest management” in the states concerned, controlled by his democratic opponents. According to the scientific consensus, however, the exceptional extent of these forest fires is well linked to climate change, which exacerbates chronic drought and causes extreme weather conditions.
Some researchers even believe that these fires may have contributed to the killing of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds of various species, found in recent weeks in New Mexico and surrounding areas. Samples will be autopsied to try to determine the exact cause of death.