Burlingame community works to address wildfires


Hubert Chen

California wildfires have burned more and more acres in the past years.

Hubert Chen, Senior Reporter

To date, the 2020 California wildfires have burnt over 4.1 million acres of land, more than doubling the previous record of 1.9 million acres in 2018 as estimated by CAL FIRE. Although the wildfires may not seem to have a direct impact on Burlingame, the Burlingame community has found itself in the middle of this historic fire.

“Central County Fire this year responded to eight separate fires throughout the state, with 54 total personnel,” Central County Fire Department fire chief Bruce Barron said. “Not only did we respond for fire but we responded for search and rescue. We had eight personnel respond out with our [Urban Search and Rescue] team.”

In the past decade, the size of California wildfires have been on an upward trend due to factors such as climate change and inadequete forest management, although the topic sparks controversy in American politics.

“Whatever you believe [the cause is]: you believe it’s climate change, you believe that it’s cyclical. How I look at it is that it doesn’t really matter,” Barron said. “We’re still having these big fires, so no matter what the cause, we need to figure out how we can reduce the amount of property damage and loss.”

As the 2020 wildfire season winds down, Californians only have a couple months before it resumes. However, the community is hard at work preparing for the future.

“In Hillsborough they passed an ordinance where they have a fuel management part so people have to clean up their properties and get rid of a lot of shrubs,” Barron said. “This ordinance targets fuel, one of the three main ingredients required for a fire, the others being heat and oxygen.”

Burlingame students are also working to address the fires in the Environmental Club, raising awareness and taking action.  

“We talk about these issues in the club,” Environmental Club president Cate Cattano said. “The environmental poster competition and film festival are ways for students in our community to raise awareness.”