Oregon has the world’s worst air
Screenshot / Youtube
If you are reading this in Oregon, you are breathing the worst air in the world right now.
The combination of a 30-year drought, high-speed winds, and extreme weather has proved fatal for the state. The wildfires have scorched over one million acres, and some of the state’s fire-fighting fleet of helicopters are currently stationed in Afghanistan.
Ingalsbee reported on the situation in Oregon, where firefighters continue to battle two dozen explosive wildfires burning thousands of acres a day, to Democracy Now!.
He conceded that for Oregon, big fires in the mountains are normal. What is unprecedented is having the wildfires “barreling down our valleys” and reaching major urban areas.
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He also noted that the smoke is “blotting out the sun” and grounding entire fleets of air tankers and helicopters. As a fire ecologist, Ingalsbee sheds light on why these wildfires have been so devastating.
Well, these are climate fires. And they’re the product of extreme heat waves and prolonged droughts and then very low humidities. What’s really rare about this, this event here in Oregon, is there was a regionwide east wind event. The winds came screaming from the deserts on the east side of the mountains up over, barreled down these valleys and just propelled these flames.
The explanation came with a grim warning: “they will become much more frequent in the days ahead.”
Inglasbee points out that while the current administration needs to acknowledge that climate change has caused these wildfires, forest management does play a small factor. He explains that the winds are hurtling through industrial tree farms from the 1970s and ’80s. Young trees burn through much easier and quicker than older forests.
The ecosystem is damaged from decades of logging, livestock grazing, and mining. Today, rural sprawl means the wildfires are deadlier than ever before, because “so many people are in the pathway of these fires.”