Mojave Dam, Wildfires,& Smog

Druce Chandler, writer

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By far when it comes to wildfires they can devastate land and can be hard to contain, and if they continue, it could add to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or if it worsens smog can come from the smoke and fog up the sky. In addition, the greenhouse gases coming from wildfires could help with water levels rising, as sources claim that the Mojave Dam could be affected in a way that it could fail and flood thousands. However, according to Wikipedia, in 2018 for California, about 8,527 wildfires burnt an area of about 1,893,913 acres of land alone and operations to conceal the fires cost 432 million dollars. On the other hand, it’s not just California as the capital of India, New Delhi, is dealing with smog that came from fires started in the northern valleys near the Himalayas, according to CNN. For New Delhi it impacts them more as they are now ranked as the smog capital of the world according to the same source.                                      

Wildfires in California and The World  

For the most part, wildfires can start in many ways as, according to science.howstuffworks.com, common causes for wildfires are arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, improperly burning debris, playing with matches or fireworks, and prescribed fires. In places like California, trying to conceal the fires is difficult this year as the Santa Ana and Diablo winds push from Mexico and the Rockies in the fall and winter. Also, both winds are hard to control as they will naturally funnel through narrow mountain passes, gather speed and heat, become stronger and warmer as they descend toward the coast and potentially cause a wildfire, according to Business Insider. From that process, some fires like the Getty fire, Kincade fire, and the Tick Fire have caused 71,300 acres of land to be destroyed and forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate. In spite of wildfires being known in California on the news, according to thoughtco.com, on October,1971, a wildfire in Wisconsin and Michigan called the Peshtigo fire destroyed 3.7 million acres, obliterating dozens of towns, and killing approximately 1,500 people. In addition, the source claims that it happened the same day as the notorious Great Chicago Fire. Plus, according to Worldatlas.com, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Sweden suffer from wildfires with Russia losing about 5,978,107 acres of protected territory in 2016 just to the devastating and crippling wildfires.

Mojave Dam

Meanwhile, while the wildfires are blazing their carbon dioxide, the Mojave Dam built in 1974, is used as a reservoir in order to supply electricity, and water. According to CNN, it is said that 315,000 residents in San Bernardino county are in the path of flood waters from the dam. Also, it is said that due to rising water the Mojave Dam might fail as a statement from the     USACOE said, “the dam could fail as water can rise over top of it and it could potentially result in dam failure.” However, according to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Corps of Engineering are considering strategies on how to shore up the dam in case it may fail but they must take climate change into account. Another thing is that if nothing is done the 200 foot wall dam’s failure could inundate 16,000 people and $1.5 billion in property damage could be done all the way up to Bakersfield, California. Nevertheless, with only so much time to think of strategies for the Mojave Dam as according to Gary Lee chief safety engineer for the Army Corps’ Los Angeles District says that, “A possible solution would be to harden the dam to prevent water from flowing over top it or to raise the dam by three feet.” But, with as much time as they have and as much time as they got they still would have to deal with the cost in order to find out how much money it costs.

 

Smog in India

Be that as it is, smog is a whole different story especially in New Delhi, India as residents of the city are suffering from it and the local government had to go as far and issue emergency measures from the smog according to CNN. The reason for all this is due to farmers in India around the capital are burning leftover crops, and with that, the smoke essentially gets filtered back in the country by the Himalayas and reaches the capital causing smog. It is also said that the smog in the city on air quality index level in some parts of the city are at a staggering 800. On the other hand, New Delhi has been ranked as the most polluted city in the world, and it will only get worse if residents are setting off firecrackers during the festival of light Diwali. According to the World Health Organization, it is said that 4.2 million people die each year from exposure to air pollution, and the smog has also been linked to higher rates of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic disease. Lastly, no matter what environment or disaster you are in, try to stay safe at all costs as that is the number one priority.