Things That Matter

California Is Fighting Off 14 Fires Across The State Claiming Thousands Of Acres And Displacing Thousands Of People

Sunny California is devastatingly ablaze. There are currently 14 fires burning up in California, according to CNN. It’s a travesty to witness the great state burning up with fires up along the coast and around mountains. While wildfires are nothing new to California, it’s never easy to see how much distraction the fires cause, and even worse how they affect the lives of millions of residents, workers, and the firefighters.

We know that California gets an unfair rap from outsiders because people downplay the fact that rich people’s homes are being destroyed, but that wrong assumption is nowhere near reality. The livelihood of minority workers is affected, animals are being left behind, and overworked firefighters are overwhelmed. What’s more unfortunate is that Santa Ana winds aren’t helping, and the fires are not slowing down. Here’s the latest.

A new fire began Halloween night and is called the Maria Fire, which is located in the Ventura County near the Santa Paula and Somis.

Credit: @vcfd_pio / Twitter

Reports indicate that 8,000 acres have been destroyed so far from the Maria Fire. Two structures have been lost in the fire, and another 1,800 more are under threat.

“The winds have died down, and the cold temperatures have reduced the fire’s ability to aggressively run downhill,” Ventura County Fire Capt. Brian McGrath said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Today, we’re going to see what the sun looks like on it and see what the normal onshore breeze is going to do for us.”

The Easy Fire, off of West Easy Street and West Los Angeles Avenue, in Simi Valley in Ventura County, is 80 percent contained.

 Credit: @WhitecliffCirc1 / Twitter

“Also all roads have been reopened with the expectation of Tierra Rejada Rd from HWY 23 to Mandan Pl is open to residents only. Please be careful as first responders are still working in the area,” officials said on Twitter. 

While firefighters were busy working attempting to clear the area, volunteers wanted to make sure they were being taken care of. So restaurant owner, Sadaf Nezhad, went out to feed them.

“Coming into Ventura County, everyone has been so welcoming, I feel apart of the community,” Nezhad told ABC News. “I did some research and called around and I found out the firefighters are camping at Conejo Creek Park, so that’s where we are going to take a big lunch to the firefighters.”

The Riverside County Fire Department said that the 46 Fire, located in  Riverside County, is 50 percent contained. 

Credit: @CBSLA / Twitter

As of now, 300 acres have been affected, and three homes were damaged because of the flames. CBS2 reports that at the height of the fire, 1,200 households and 3,600 residents were under mandatory. That evacuation has been lifted.

“Right now it’s burning in a wooded area, a lot of trees, a lot of heavy fuel,” CAL Fire Capt. Fernando Herrera told CBS2. “The winds themselves have been kind of moderate, kind of sporadic. There are times when the wind is very light, but we do have those gusts that come in, which poses a challenge because that causes the fire to be wind-driven.”

Other fires in California include the Hill Fire, Fullerton Fire, Kincade Fire, Tick Fire, and Tijuana Fire.

Credit: @abc7 / Twitter

Some of the fires have been burning for days or at least a week. Last week the Getty Fire forced thousands to evacuate after that fire shut down traffic on the 405. 

Many California residents are used to the fires, but this latest burst is having them considering leave the state. 

Danielle Bryant, who was affected by the Santa Rosa Fire two years ago said she and her husband were fixing up their house so they could sell it. Now the fires have put their construction behind schedule. 

“Everyone is stretched and stressed because our builder took on too many homes,” Bryant told NPR. “There are so many stories about people folding and leaving.” But Bryant wonders where they would be able to move to.  “What place doesn’t have fire? Iceland? Vast wide open spaces like the Mojave Desert?”

It seems like no area is safe from environmental destruction. 

Click here for information on the latest fires in your area. For details on how you can help volunteer, click here.

READ: As Wildfires Continue To Spread Across California Many Latino Workers Are Caught In The Midst Of Danger

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#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

Things That Matter

#VoteLikeAMadre Is Committing Latinas To Vote To Save The Planet For Their Children

@salmahayek / Instagram

The 2020 election is heating up. There are a lot of hot button issues at stake from reproductive rights and affordable access to healthcare to climate change and civil rights. The Latino Victory Project is using their resources to get Latinas to commit to voting with the understanding that their children will inherit the world they leave behind. Here’s how.

The #VoteLikeAMadre campaign is just that, voting like a mother.

The campaign is getting people, specifically Latinas, to vote for their children. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing people during the 2020 elections. That is why #VoteLikeAMadre is asking for people to pinky promise a better future for their children using their ability to vote.

The campaign hinges on the most important promise you can make to your kids: a pinky promise.

A pinky promise is so important with the children, you know. We all remember making our parents make pinky promises to make things happen for us to to give us things we really wanted. They were unbreakable promises that you constantly reminded your parents of making.

People are already taking the pledge to vote for candidates who have plans to combat climate change.

An estimated 1 billion people live in areas that are being affected by climate change. These people could all become climate refugees by 2050. That is one-seventh of the world’s population being displaced because of climate change. Our actions now can help to mitigate some of the damage that scientists expect.

People of color are among the most vulnerable communities when it comes to the negatives affects of climate change.

Latinos, as well as other communities of color, put a lot of importance on the climate crisis. Environmental justice is an issue that Latinos have been fighting for as our communities are often subjected to negative climate and environmental issues. According to a Yale study on climate change, Latinos are the most concerned about the climate crisis and its impact.

Early voters are already following through with their promises to fight for the climate.

Fighting for the climate is the same as fighting for the children. It is not a surprise that those who are younger will be the ones to inherit and live on the planet longer. Actions now can either ruin or save the planet and its climate for the generations to come.

“Many people assume that the only people who really care about climate change are white, well-educated, upper-middle-income, latte-sipping liberals, and it’s just not true,” Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication told PBS. “Actually, the racial and ethnic group that cares more about climate change than any other is Latinos.”

You can learn more about #VoteLikeAMadre, go to their website.

You can learn more about the campaign and the fight to save the climate here. Share with us about what you want to see most in the next leaders of the U.S. by commenting below.

READ: American Latinos United Launches Committee To Take Down President Trump In 2020

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Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Things That Matter

Volunteer Firefighters From Mexico Went to Oregon to Help Their “Sister City” Contain the Unprecedented Fires

Just when you thought humanity has failed us, someone steps up and shows the world that the generosity of the human spirit is alive and well. 

Last week, a post on Reddit went viral of a group of volunteer firefighters from Guanajuato, Mexico who traveled to the city of Ashland, Oregon to help fight the wildfires that are blazing across the western state.

The fire department is called Heroico Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios, the Heroic Volunteer Fire Department, in English.

The two towns have had a “sister city” relationship for over 50 years. Sister-city relationships are meant to “promote peace and understanding through exchanges that focus on arts and culture, youth and education, business and trade, and community development”.

The internet swiftly erupted into comments praising the volunteer firefighters for their bravery and comradery. “Mexico also sent relief during Katrina. Mexico and Canada are our best allies, always there for us regardless of the politics,” one commenter said. Another chimed in: “Welcome to Oregon, amigos. Mantenga una bota en el quemado.”

The troop of men who traveled from Mexico to the United States were identified as Captain Aldo Iván Ruiz, Captain Juan Armando Alvarez Villegas, Sargent Jorge Luis Anguiano Jasso, Sargent Luis Alfonso Campos Martínez and Miguel Ángel Hernández Lara. They were accompanied by the mayor of Guanajuato, Alejandro Navarro.

“We began the relief work,” Navarro wrote on Twitter. “Very moved by the terrible impact of the fire on families and their homes.”

The Oregon wildfires are just one of the many that are blazing down the West Coast of the United States, taking people’s homes, land, and sometimes, their lives. In more than 1 million acres have burned and two dozen fires are still raging.

“Almost every year since becoming governor, I’ve witnessed historic fire seasons,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently said at a press conference. “Yet this is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state.”

Experts are hypothesizing that these unprecedented fires are further evidence of the toll man-made climate change is having on the environment. 

via Getty Images

“I can’t think of any time over the last 100 years where we’ve had serial fire outbreaks, four years running,” said fire historian Stephen Pyne to the Washington Post. “That I can find no record of happening before,” he added. “That is the big switch; that is the phase change.”

Regardless of what has caused the fires, the bravery of these firefighters is worth commendable. Their actions are further proof that borders cannot contain the universal values of kindness, altruism, and brotherhood.

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