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Private firefighters: smart or selfish?

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Private firefighters: smart or selfish?

Nicole Joseph, Senior Contributor

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Almost everyone is aware of the wildfires ravishing the homes in California, but many do not know about the private firefighters hired to protect the mansions and exclusive properties at a high price. Celebrities and the uber-rich have started hiring these men to protect their homes on the dry west coast to prevent the wildfires from spreading to their homes. This news has certainly opened up a debate concerning the de-facto groups of our nation

The California wildfires that have been raging on since mid-July were caused by a number of factors. A gender reveal party that turned south, and a complex apartment fire and two of the main reasons. Strong winds and dry, ashy shrubs easily helped the fires spread. According to CNN news reporter Emanuella Grinberg, there is currently a total of 7,579 fires burning an area of 1,667,855 acres. With the flames taking at least 106 lives, including 6 firefighters, it has quickly sprung into a national emergency. Something this devastating comes with an extensive price tag of more than $2.975 billion in damages.

It has been no surprise to see celebrities helping fight these fires behind the scenes. With Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth donating half a million dollars to wildlife recovery after having their own home destroyed by the fires. In contrast, celebrities have other agendas when they first heard about the flames. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West hired their own private firefighters to deal with the flames. This entailed paid men to build trenches along the back of the house, which is surrounded by heavy woods. While this did prevent a fire from spreading to the mansions entirely, and saved Kardashian her $20 million home, others were quick to scrutinize these actions. Some said it was completely ridiculous to do so, but Kim was quick to respond by saying that, “It wasn’t just my home they were protecting,” implying her care for her neighbors and friends.

Now while private firefighters seem completely absurd, they have actually been around for decades. The origin dates back to 1699 in England, where men were recruited as firefighters to protect insured homes. Now even though this exact idea was not brought overseas, the US formed their own similar groups. These consisted of citizens who formed loose organizations to help put out fires and thus creating a new job; firemen. Fast forward to 2018, this has translated to private organizations, or insurance companies that can protect your valuables, but for a cost. The Atlantic noted, that Wildfire Defense Systems, a private company from Montana, currently has 53 fire engines on the ground in California and is working to safeguard 1,000 homes.

Most citizens in California are not “fortunate” enough to hire their own firefighters, but must rely on those that have volunteered to stop them. This uproar of opinions have caused debate and difficulty to the people in charge of the putting a stop to the fires. As well has a drastically divided US concerning this new trend. Overall, A fine line is drawn between smart thinking and selfishness when it comes to the new changes in climate, and ideas of the nation as a whole.

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Private firefighters: smart or selfish?