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Student Projects

Fire Chasers, Solution Makers

Authors: Chris Olivas, Brittany Perro, Alberni Ruiz

Grade: 8th

Subjects: Humanities, Math, Science

How can we prepare for and manage wildfire in California?

Who are the heroes that protect us from wildfires? Who are the villains that induce extreme fire conditions?

How can our daily actions impact wildfire activity in our local and global communities?

How can we utilize political systems and structures to inspire change?

Wildfires have become more frequent in California; so frequent that many of us in the HTMNC community have been impacted by their destruction. Through this project, students brainstormed ways to reduce our impact on wildfires by learning about the natural chaparral ecosystem here in San Diego and ways to restore it. On top of the scientific, non-fiction articles we explored in Humanities, students read “The Carbon Diaries 2015” by Saci Lloyd. This fiction novel is about a teen girl living in a dystopian future, where carbon rations have been cut per person. Taking inspiration from our class novel, Students discussed the role the government plays in decreasing greenhouse gasses. Students then wrote investigative journalism articles to explore an area of interest related to wildfires and carbon.

Growing up in southern California, I know the scary feeling of witnessing a fire around where you live and around the people you love. Being able to connect with the heros and victims of fire season was extremely eye opening to the reality of these horrible situations. I had never really thought about WHAT made fires over here so bad, and I just assumed there was nothing we could do about the fires. After learning how much most humans contribute to the continuous growing rate of wildfires I was shocked. It made me feel very ignorant because there are towns out there that were aflame and I’m part of the problem. We were interviewing firefighters, local companies, and victims of previous fires and it was challenging not to act like I was interviewing people for the sake of getting an assignment done. I wanted to be able to connect and support people, but sometimes I knew that I truly couldn’t understand what they went through. Honestly, just knowing that these events had occurred and I was just learning about them in this project like they were some movie was hard.



My biggest take away from this project was eating a certain animal can increase the chance of a wildfire starting. Let me elaborate, if you eat a steak for example you are increasing the demand for cows to be raised and eaten. since there is a higher demand there is a higher supply. When a cow is raised it is fed grass it can’t fully process it so the product is a lot of methane gas. This gas is emitted into the atmosphere. You may be saying, well that is just one cow but there are nearly one billion cows in the world that are emitting this methane gas and there is so much gas that it is affecting our climate and making it warmer. The climate in turn affects wildfires. If the climate is warming there is a higher chance for wildfires because the warmer climate dries out the plants faster.