The California wildfires are an ongoing tragedy, and nobody knows exactly how much damage they will do before they are finally over. The tragedy has touched many celebrities too.
This year's deadly wildfires in California have been the worst event of its kind to affect the area in recorded history. Both for the area they have destroyed and the amount of casualties in its aftermath, and the worse part is, they are still burning. Nobody knows exactly how much damage they will do before they finally are put down, since a large portion of land is still inaccessible.
At least 31 people have died as a direct result of the fires and, according to Wikipedia, as of November 1st., the fires had burnt an area of 6750 km2, and caused over $2975 billion USD in damages.
One of the worst hit areas has been the Malibu area, which celebrities like Gerard Butler and Miley Cyrus have called home, and whose homes have been destroyed by the deadly fires. Other stars, like Robin Thicke and Neil Young have also reported the loss of their houses, while Kim Kardashian-West, Lady Gaga, Guillermo del Toro, and Cher have been instructed to evacuate their homes and have shared the news with their fans on social media.
Miley tweeted that she and her fiancé Liam Hemsworth "made it out" safely, but unfortunately they lost their home. She urged her fans to donate money, time and supplies to a list of charities and foundations that help those who have been affected by the fires.
Gerald Buttler, the Scottish star of 300 and Gods of Egypt posted a photo on Instagram of what is left of his house in Malibu and thanked the firefighters for their courage.
April Love Geary, Robin Thicke's partner, posted images on Instagram announcing that their house has been destroyed.
The musician Neil Young made a post on his website announcing the loss of his home. He also talked about climate change and made a sharp criticism of President Donald Trump.
The fire also destroyed a property that has been used as the set for several films and TV shows, such as the two first seasons of the hit series Westworld.
Kim Kardashian-West and her family were evacuated from their Hidden Hills home on Friday. "We are all safe and that's all that matters", said Kim on Twitter and Instagram. Caitlyn Jenner also had to evacuate her mansion in Malibu and told her fans on Instagram that she considered herself "one of the lucky ones."
The Pirates of the Caribbean star shared this view of his street to his 2.1 million followers on Instagram over the weekend.
Lady Gaga also evacuated her home on Friday, and sent several messages on social media, including thank you notes for the emergency services, calling them "true heroes."
One of the most beloved Mexicans living in the States, Guillermo del Toro, was also evacuated from his home, and he shared on Twitter his fear of losing his iconic home known as Bleak House, although later he tweeted the house seems to have survived the blaze.
The house of superstar Cher was built in 1972 and she shared his concern for it's possible destruction on Twitter.
Photo: Mike Meadows
But although the rich and famous have become the most public face of this tragedy, let's not forget that they are only an extremely small portion of the people affected. It is estimated that a quarter of a million people have had to evacuate and there are at least 200 people missing.
If we have learned anything from these last months is that as heart wrenching as the situation is, there is always someone who is unable or unwilling to join the efforts to stop this tragedy and instead choses to look for a boogeyman to blame for the loss of life and property. So, it was no surprise that President Donald Trump tweeted blaming none other than the Forest Management Department:
Soon, several Firefighter Organizations answered with one version or other of: Shut up!
Truth is, if we are looking for someone to blame for the fires it should be ourselves, and by this I mean: All of us who pollute and are driving the forces of climate change. Daniel Swain, a researcher at University of California-Los Angeles’ Center for Climate Science published a detailed explanation on Twitter about the series of events and conditions that have contributed to the fires.
Swain explains that, although climate change is not the direct cause of this particular fire, its role has been vital for its inception. Summers have been getting hotter, and autumns warmer and drier. "Less precipitation in autumn & spring has long been a projected outcome of climate change,” he says; both factors have been major contributors for this fire season.
Combine this dry scenario with the strong offshore winds that California is famous for in this time of the year -with the added component of fast urban development, and you get the perfect storm: fast-spreading wildfires that burn through residential areas in hours.
As for the future, it doesn't seem the fires will be under control any time soon: as soon as one flare-up is drowned, another one starts burning again. Let's hope that at least the fatality count does not grow with time and that everybody follows the safety recommendations issued by the authorities!
Cover Photo: Tony Handy / LAFD
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