California Wildfires: How Did These Fires Become So Deadly?

California Wildfires: How Did These Fires Become So Deadly?

40 killed and hundreds more missing.

Firefighters are continuing to fight the fast-spreading flames in California while coping with the 220,000 acres that have already been scorched. As of now, at least 40 people have been reported dead and over 300 are still missing due to the massive fires that are taking over California. As more than 20,000 people evacuate and over 3,500 structures get destroyed, we can help but wonder: how did this happen?

Strong Winds:

The first suspected cause for this devastation is the strong wind. The region experienced powerful wind gusts of 50mph, which made it easier for the blaze to spread. Hurricane-force wind gusts of 79 mph were reported in Sonoma County, sending the deadly flames across the county.

Timing:

The second suspected cause for this devastation is timing. The fires crept up on locals in the middle of the night, when most were asleep. A brief timeline of the fire suggests the three largest fires started between 9 and 11 p.m. Sunday, according to Cal. Fire. This was around the time most residents were settling down for bed, causing some to not evacuate in time.

Vegetation:

The third suspected cause for this devastation is dried vegetation. Officials suspect dried vegetation is fueling the flames. According to Cal. Fire, the accumulated dead vegetation increased the likelihood of a wildfire this strong. The fires torched 20,000 acres in about 12 hours on last Monday alone, and the dry vegetation was a key component.

Dry Conditions:

The fourth and final suspected cause of devastation is the dry conditions. Although October has been experiencing rain in Northern California, it is seasonally when the area experiences more of its wildfires. Since the fires have started, they have been thriving on low humidity and dry conditions.

Authorities are now reportedly urging Napa residents to pack "ready-to-go bags" with documents and medication in case they need to evacuate quickly. More than 20,000 people have been ordered to evacuate in cities across Northern California. As destruction spreads, New York native and recent San Francisco local Danielle Kerendian shared her experience with the fires.

“I woke up Monday morning with a horrible sore throat, stuffy nose, and sinus pressure. I attributed it to being a little under the weather but as soon as I walked out my door I knew something wasn’t right. The air was filled with smoke and I felt like I was at a campfire. I looked at the news and realized what was happening-- massive forest fires throughout Northern California. People were dying and over 1,500 buildings were burned down. Several of my friend’s families had to evacuate their homes, leaving pets and important belongings behind. By Wednesday it had become national news, even sparking conversation from the President. Being a native New Yorker, it was a scary experience. I’ve been in touch with my dad and he told me to wear a mask so as not to inhale the smoke. My company also sent out a newsletter about the devastation-- making sure employees stay safe and offering volunteering opportunities for those who want to help. People are donating clothes, food, and sleeping blankets to areas most affected. My boyfriend’s friend even assisted with evacuations.”

As of now, schools are canceled for the rest of the week in Napa County and some cancellations of flights due to smoke at San Francisco International Airport.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Kerendian

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He Changed Everything.

My soul is richer & my heart is fuller 

Sept 2013 I found myself writing to an evangelist Jennifer Beckham looking for more, looking for answers cause at the time I was in a dark place, and stuck no matter what I did. She wrote back! I cried as I read her respond. She sent me scriptures of who god is and what he wants for us. God says we are more than conquers and endurance develops strength and character. She encouraged me that I was on the right track. Not to give up and she would be praying for me. I saw Jennifer Beckham at a conference that year. I don't remember what she specifically talked about but I remember the feeling. The feeling of wanting to burst out crying, I could feel my eyes being filled with tears, and my heart racing but I wouldn't let out the tears. My pride was too big. I wanted to be strong so I did my best to hold it all in, and I did. At this conference they offered the audience who wanted to go up for prayer and dedicate their life to Jesus Christ. Surprisingly I went up, but I went up with other people that were seeking out salvation. I wasn’t sure if I was going up to support the other people or if it was truly for me. I was confused, even though I said the prayer. I became more confused as the days went on and I wasn't feeling a difference in my life. Nothing was changing. I started reading the bible and many books, listening to sermons, and surrounding myself with positive people. I gave my life to Jesus, but I didn't feel like I was set FREE! I continued feeling empty, lost, broken, guilty, and hurt from the past. There were so many days where I just wanted to give up. Almost felt pointless to fight for my life. At this point in my life I didn't know God very much, but I had just a little bit of faith. My faith was a big as a mustard seed and God took care of the rest. Day by day, year by year I started noticing my life changing. I noticed I was changing. I started feeling happy with who I was and where I was in life. I no longer questioned God about the things that happened to me. In my heart I was ok with the wounds, the hardships, and trials from the past because I now understood those wounds and trials. I realized I was SET FREE! not perfect but set free. I started understanding who I was as a child of our heavenly father. Now it’s Jan 2018 and I’m in awe of who I am and where I am in life, all because of Jesus. His so faithful! I think of the favor, the grace, his mercy, his love, his joy and blessing that he gives me even when I’m undeserving of it, it’s overwhelming. He has never left me nor forsake me. I can say Jesus you changed everything and my heart so forever thankful. 

Today, I encourage you like Jennifer Beckham encouraged me. Keep going and don't give up. No matter what your past looks like believe in your heart that you were created for greatness. Don't let your past determine your future, be the change you want in your life. You have it in you. There is so much more to life, don't miss out on it. It's time to take back your happiness, love, joy, freedom and so much more. It's time to take back EVERYTHING the enemy has taken from you. God has made you an overcomer. I speak it right now, that you will be victorious in 2018 and the years to come. Remember, God loves you! 

Psalm 136:26 (AMP) O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy and loving-kindness endures forever!

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Oprah Winfrey Running For President?

Golden Globe speech sparking some ideas.

As of Sunday, January 7, 2018, Oprah Winfrey made a few remarks during her Golden Globe speech, hinting to her possibly running for president in 2020. Later, two of her friends, who wish to remain anonymous confirm this speculation. One of the friends said that this idea has been looming for months now but that Winfrey did not come to a conscience yet.

The main point of Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes was the #MeToo movement. She also made a statement of, "A new day is on the horizon", which many liberal celebrities and viewers heard as a possible campaign cry.

At the moment, there is no serious talk right now about her running for president, but some of her fans have voiced their opinions through Twitter and Facebook after she had her speech. Along with her fans, her long time partner, Stedman Graham also mentioned that her running for president was a possibility

However what Winfrey does not have is political experience. When she needs political advice she looks to the Obamas and she fully endorsed Hillary Clinton. We may have our next Democratic candidate for the 2020 election. Although the race for president does not start until after the 2018 midterms, many candidates are getting a head start. Maybe this is her making her first move. What do you think? Will America choose another TV star as our president?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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