By Anne Mulkern, Scientific American:
The death toll from extreme fires in California is rising from an unexpected source: Firefighters are committing suicide.
The stress of fighting repeated blazes and seeing bodies of those killed is taxing firefighters’ mental health, fire officials said yesterday at a joint California Senate and Assembly hearing.
It’s “an invisible cost that’s rarely discussed,” Capt. Mike Feyh of the Sacramento Fire Department told state lawmakers.
Last year’s record-breaking Camp Fire in Paradise, north of Sacramento, killed 86 and wiped out the town, the same day another fire killed three in Los Angeles County. Wildfires that raced through Napa, Sonoma and other parts of Northern California’s wine country in 2017 killed 44.
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