The 21st century generation has been plagued with various natural catastrophes that have provided significant negative impacts on the present status of the world’s environment. Much of the delight of the current technological advancements that people are experiencing, the world’s natural ecosystem has been left out of concern. In only a span of several years, hundreds, or even thousands of natural calamities have been recorded in different parts of the world. There are massive typhoons, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, etc. that had created massive amount of damage in our ecosystem. These natural scenarios are very alarming since the world’s natural environment continues to degrade and weaken in a massive state. One of the most recent natural catastrophes that damaged majority of the California’s natural ecosystem is the famous “Rocky Fire”, which had been coined as one of the scariest wildfire last 2015 in the state.
According to Mooney (2015), the famous Rocky Fire in northern San Francisco is a massive wildfire that had brought an estimated 69,600 acres of land into a seemingly embellished burning festival in the state, of which around 30 percent had only been contained. One of the primary reasons for such event is the heightened effects of global warming in the state, since, according to the reports, there is no single case of wildfire in the state since 2000 that covers much land as that of the Rocky Fire (Mooney, 2015). Furthermore, the wildfire has eradicated more or less 43 homes and risks thousands of human lives in jeopardy, as this event has been regarded as one of the scariest wildfire calamities in the year 2015.
Rocky Fire: Air Impact
Forest wildfires have already been considered a common scenario for a forest-filled state in the United States. Trees and root-filled grasses are burned because of an increased temperature of the environment caused by increased levels of global warming. These burned trees and grasses eventually spread in vast land coverage which made it more difficult to obliterate. The environmental effects of forest wildfires are very much the same as that of other natural calamities. For example, forest wildfires have a huge significant negative impact with regards to the air quality of our environment. Massive burning of trees and grasses provides too much smoke emission in the atmosphere that may cause serious human health problems, particularly on human respiratory health systems. Furthermore, forest wildfires also cause increased levels of particulate matters and ozone that could cause public health hazards and human respiratory ailments (Miranda, Alves, & Keizer, n.d.). These higher levels even cause lack of visibility especially when large amount of smoke has been produced from burning trees and grasses.
Rocky Fire: Soil Impact
Massive forest wildfire, just like the Rocky Fire, does not only contribute to air safety hazards and issues, but also contribute to immense soil erosion in the site. It commonly took longer hours, days, or even months to completely obliterate the fire brought by massive burning of trees and grasses. Prolonged and uncontrolled Rocky wildfire in California may cause the soil to deplete and that the structure of once a mineralized soil shall be changed brought about by too much temperature on the ground (Jeter, 2008). Hence, according to Miranda, Alves, & Keizer (n.d.), the associated loss of soil, organic matter, and nutrients on the ground provides an unsustainable forest development and innovation in the future. Also, the downstream ecosystem functioning of the environment will be disrupted since the soil lacks the nutrients and organic matter for its own sustainability. Higher temperature along the wildfire site may even contribute to ignition of organic elements and particles in the ground that can lead to enhanced burning and widespread of fire. Thus, the occurrence of soil erosion is very destructive in terms of environmental preservation and sustainability. As for the Rocky forest wildfire, around 69,600 acres of land, or even more of it, shall experience soil erosion in the future.
Rocky Fire: Water Impact
The water system in the wildfire site is also affected mainly due to soil erosion, leading to water contamination and unsafe water system. Unsafe water system may be very harmful to humans, since three-fourths of the components of the human body system is directly associated with water. Aside from unsafe water system, there is also a tendency for a heightened surface water runoff or rainfall (Jeter, 2008). A heightened amount of surface water runoff may lead to contaminated and suspended soil particles and dissolved inorganic nutrients which contribute to reduced water quality system in the whole state.
Additional Effects of Rocky Forest Wildfire
As of the moment, climate change and heightened global warming are the two primary reasons why people frequently experience different natural calamities from all over the world. The effects of Rocky wildfire in California do not only cover the environmental distress in the state. Livelihood and agriculture has been significantly affected because of the wildfire. According to Jeter (2008), many plants and trees were burned and destroyed because of global warming. Most of the vegetation and other livelihood stocks around the state have been affected because of soil erosion. Furthermore, wildlife species have no more homes for them to live in since the forest has been wiped out as wildfire destroys their four essential elements for them to live: food, water, air, and space (Jeter, 2008). What matters more here are small wildlife animals who cannot escape from flames and intense heat, which made them so helpless against massive wildfire. Thus, it is also a matter of conserving their lives much as we preserve human species as well. It is a matter of how we provide and nourish a sustainable environment for everyone.
Human Implications of Rocky Wildfire
One of the biggest concerns for this particular natural catastrophe is the human health implications caused by excessive fire and smoke production. According to Jeter (2008), every moment that forest wildfires occur, several homes, vehicles, buildings, crops, and hay bales are being destroyed, much as human lives are also perished. Smoke emission may also be very harmful not only to humans but also to wildlife animals, as too much air contaminants and ozone inside the body may lead to different respiratory disorders which may cause death.
We are in a generation of modern advancements and innovations. We live in technologies and scientific researches. But beyond everyone’s capacity to expand people’s horizon of the unexpected realities of life, let us not always forget that we are once considered as nomad individuals, that we live in a very simple life, without any technologies or whatsoever innovations. What I am trying to say is that let us not forget the past, the way we are concerned about our nature and environment. Just as what Mooney (2015) had mentioned in his article, forest wildfire is only one of the several calamities that our environment had experienced and shall be experiencing as well in the future. There is still quite a long way to go for our nature to be called as a sustainable environment. Just as Jeter (2008) questioned the audience, do we really want to live in an ugly environment? No one deserves to live in an ugly environment, not even wildlife species does. We all lived in equal opportunities – and the Rocky Fire serves as a challenge for us to do something, as soon as possible. We need to make a change right now; we need to do our part as protectors of the environment.
Jeter, J. P. (2008). The environmental effects of wildfire. Web. Retrieved 28 March 2016. <http://www.forestry.state.al.us/Publications/TREASURED_Forest_Magazine/2008%20Spring/The%20Environmental%20Effects%20of%20Wildfire.pdf>
Miranda, A. I., Alves, C., & J. J. Keizer. (n.d.). Environmental effects of forest fires. Web. Retrieved 28 March 2016. <http://www.cesam.ua.pt/files/forest_fires.pdf>
Mooney, C. (2015). California is battling its scariest 2015 wildfire so far – the Rocky Fire. The Washington Post. Web. Retrieved 28 March 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/08/05/california-is-now-experiencing-its-scariest-wildfire-in-2015-so-far/?>