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Effects of California Fire Are Far Reaching

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Olivia Quagliani

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Sophomore Arrupe Retreat
November 29, 2018
Camp Fire looks like a hot, colored haze. (Photo by: Matthias Gafni)

Camp Fire looks like a hot, colored haze. (Photo by: Matthias Gafni)

California has suffered from 8,434 fires in total this past year occurring across the entire state. All of these fires combined burned a total of 1,890,438 acres. There were three major fires blazing in November: the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA; the Hill Fire in Ventura County; the Woolsey Fire west of Los Angeles. All three of these fires were deadly and destructive, but the Camp Fire produced the most destruction and caused the most deaths.

Camp Fire burning a building. (Photo by David Grossman)

Paradise, California, the site of Camp Fire, is located about 90 miles North of Sacramento. The fire started on November 8 when an uninsulated jumper cable made contact with the PG&E tower, sending hot material into dry vegetation and sparking the fire. Susan Miller of USA Today reported that “At least 85 people have been killed; 249 are listed as missing. Nearly 19,000 buildings, most of them homes, have been destroyed.” The Camp Fire is the most destructive fire ever recorded to burn in California.

Smoke clouds the sky in Paradise, CA. A telephone wire is knocked down and a car is burned. (Photo by GETTY)

Xavier Alumni Chris Quagliani talked about the Camp Fire to the Xavier Examiner staff. He attends the University of California Berkeley in Berkeley, California full-time. Although Quagliani lives 160 miles away from Paradise, his area and campus had to follow dramatic protocol to keep students and residents safe. Quagliani said, “Even though the fire was over one hundred miles from campus, it was difficult to breathe outside. My classes were canceled once the AQI (air quality index) got to 200, and the AQI actually got over 260.”

As the air quality got worse in the Bay area, people had to protect themselves from the harm of the thick and toxic air. Quagliani said, “I had to buy masks for myself to wear whenever I went outside so I wasn’t breathing in the hazardous air.” The Bay area was affected, but Paradise was destroyed. Chris continued, “Some of my friends have homes in Northern California and their families had to evacuate. Luckily, none of them actually lost their homes.” The Camp Fire truly made life difficult for hundreds of thousands of people in the immediate area and in places up to two hundred miles away.

San Francisco bridge is clouded with smoke and ash. (Photo by John G. Mabanglo)

The Camp Fire has been 100% contained for a few weeks now, but the threat of more fires sparking is severe. Quagliani, when asked if he worries if more fires will start in his area, said, “It’s unpredictable, but the current dryness in the area may be in favor of more fires occurring. The amount of rain that this area has received this past week might help reduce the chances of fires, but not by much.”

As Global Warming and Climate Change continue to be political issues in today’s society, there is no doubt that natural disasters will be seen more frequently. The fires California has faced this past year alone have destroyed over one million acres, and more fires may happen in the future. What California needs now is rain that will moisten the soil and plants in high fire danger areas. As Quagliani’s experience showed, these fires affect people well beyond the immediate areas of the fires. It is important for people to help the cause of fighting wildfires in any way they can. People can help by donating to the Red Cross or CalFund. These organizations will be donating money to those who lost homes and businesses due to the Camp Fire, the worst fire in California history.


Fuller, Thomas. “California Wildfires Updates: 48 Dead in Camp Fire, Toll Expected to Rise.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Nov. 2018,

Grossman, David. “Horrific Fires Devastate California Up and Down Coast.” Popular Mechanics, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2018,

“2018 California Wildfires.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Dec. 2018,

Gafni, Matthias. “Camp Fire: PG&E Issues Report Explaining Why It Didn’t Shut down Power.” The Mercury News, The Mercury News, 29 Nov. 2018,

Miller, Susan. “Colossal California Wildfire Finally Contained; Grim Search for Bodies Continues.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 25 Nov. 2018,

Mayes, Shelby. “Poor Air Quality Prompts UC Berkeley to Cancel Classes after Community Backlash.” The Daily Californian, 16 Nov. 2018,

Russell, Rachel. “Paradise Fire Map Update: How Did the Camp Fire Start in Paradise, California?”,, 11 Nov. 2018,

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About the Writer
Olivia Quagliani, Co-Editor

Hi! I'm Olivia Quagliani, and I am a Senior this year. I have been the goalie for Girls Water Polo since my Freshman year. I enjoy reading, watch Criminal...

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Effects of California Fire Are Far Reaching