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California's Wildfire and Covid-19 Disasters Just Collided

the Bay Area Air Quality Management District
the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Miami University
Wine Country
San Diego State University
Condé Nast
Affiliate Partnerships

Matt SimonTo
Tropical Storm Fausto
Kristina Chu
Christine McMorrow
Jessica McCarty
Krista West
Steve Pyne


the Bay Area
Northern California
the San Francisco Bay Area
The Air District

the Tubbs Fire
the Camp Fire
Kincade Fire

San Francisco
UC Santa Barbara

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Positivity     38.00%   
   Negativity   62.00%
The New York Times
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(Witness the awfulness in real time with this map.)“Currently, there is a wildfire burning in every county in the San Francisco Bay Area, except for San Francisco,” says Kristina Chu, acting communications manager at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Covid-19 is at least in part a respiratory disease, and smoke inhalation may make the body vulnerable to infection by tampering with the lungs’ ability to expel viruses and bacteria.California’s firefighters are struggling to contain an extraordinary number of massive wildfires, compounded by logistical challenges brought on by the pandemic. These fire conditions can shift very rapidly, and thanks to California’s heat wave, local vegetation is already extremely dry.Often firefighters get respite at night, when winds and temperatures drop, slowing a wildfire’s advance. “The winds are dropping, which is good, but the temperatures are not really dropping as much as they want, which means that the fuels themselves are still primed to burn.”That’s making these lightning-sparked fires particularly difficult to attack, but it’s also a disheartening glimpse into California’s future. “The thought of being stuck in an evacuation center with a lot of other people who are already coughing, I think that that does just kind of heighten it,” says West.Fire historian Steve Pyne calls our current era the Pyrocene—an age of flames brought on by climate change and other human actions.

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