US Wildfires: Battle between the minority group and reality

Minority ethnic groups in the United States are prone to disaster such as the 8,527 fires burning an area of 1,893,913 acres in 2018 California scenario which claim over $3.5 billion in damages and $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs.

Wildfires are largely considered to have a high tendency of outbreak on minority ethnic groups in the Unites States as reported by a study.

It is believed that the American natives are six times more liable to inferno cases as they are likely to leave in region vulnerable to wildfire.

According to a vulnerability index carried out by scientists reveal that regions with dominance of black, Hispanic or Native American are susceptible to inferno.

Study shows that minority ethnic groups are the worst case scenario victims of environmental disaster and climatic change. An example is the Hurricane Katrina that struck in 2005 displacing many black residents residing in New Orleans.

The scientists considered 13 socioeconomic factors on over 70,000 census region to know the extent of exposure of residents to fire incidents. Also, adding media reports from previous wildfires to buttress their reports.

The factors benchmarked for consideration include housing type, English fluency income, and health, and these were cross referenced with information regarding historic records, weather patterns and potential wildfire areas.

Professor Phil Levin, a study author and lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy said: “We can see that the impacts of recent fires were exacerbated for low-income residents facing a shortage of affordable housing, for example, and for Hispanic residents for whom English is not their first language.”

Language barrier has been the major wall which has hinders the release of timely information in emergency situations to help the Hispanic steer clear of danger.

The study team implores the government to take basic precautionary measures and consider social economic factors to help the minority community prepare for emergencies.

Findings made public in a study published by authors in the journal PLOS ONE educate the widely accepted conception of the public about the victims of wildfire and fire cases.

Ian Davies, a degree holder at University of Washington, “A general perception is that communities most affected by wildfires are affluent people living in rural and suburban communities near forested areas.”

“But there are actually millions of people who live in areas that have a high wildfire potential and are very poor, or don’t have access to vehicles or other resources, which makes it difficult to adapt or recover from a wildfire disaster.”

The study bore out that most natural disasters are actually not but are results of the impact of environmental, social, political and economic circumstances in which the incident occurred.

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