Fires are killing the economy even more

Ernesto Gomez

California wildfires have cost residents of this state billions of dollars.

Whether it is property damage, or the deployment of thousands of firefighters and equipment, ultimately it is our tax dollars that pick up the bill.

Many people think that wildfires are started by lightning, while the truth is that 88% of them are started by humans.

They are ignited by unattended campfires, burning trash illegally, tossing lit cigarettes or barbecues left on.

Such carelessness has cost people their homes, priceless artifacts, and even their lives.

Many ad campaigns target such people. Campaigns such as Smokey the Bear encourage people to practice fire safety, especially when in the wilderness.

This year alone, approximately 5.2 million acres have burned in this country due to wildfires, with the majority burning in this state.

Everyone is affected by the fires, even if you are not near them.

There are currently three major fires engulfing Southern California.

Even being miles away, our cars have piled up ash on them overnight.

You might get mad mad that you just washed your car yesterday, and today it’s dirty. Of course, you say that it’s not your fault. You say that it has nothing to do with you, so you are in your god-given right to be mad. But what about that cigarette that you may have tossed out yesterday?

Or perhaps that bonfire that you didn’t properly extinguish?

You’re mad about that ash, but what about the people that lost so much?

Who knows what burned to create that ash.

It could be somebody’s prom picture or it could be a wedding dress.

The ash also produces major health risks for those near it, especially infants.

A colleague of mine had to rush her daughter to the emergency room after she had an allergic reaction to the ash.

We have all seen the commercials that tell us, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

This message is completely true.

We have the responsibility and we must inform ourselves to not only save money, but also save lives, human and other.

It is your responsibility, regardless of where you live, to help prevent such catastrophes.

Ignorance is not a valid excuse. There are many resources available where you can learn what can be done.

You can educate yourself on fire safety by visiting www.talonmarks.com and checking out the links of fire safety.