Liar, Liar, State on Fire!

Jerry Brown, former governor of California, testified in Congress that:

“California’s burning while the deniers [of Climate Change] make a joke out of the standards that protect us all. The blood is on your soul here and I hope you wake up. Because this is not politics, this is life, this is morality. … This is real.”

The fires are real enough, but Jerry Brown’s explanation of the root cause is the stuff of serious mental delusion, perhaps even mental illness.

President Trump correctly identified one of the major underlying causes on Twitter:

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor”

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, in a 2018 report wrote:

“A century of mismanaging Sierra Nevada forests has brought an unprecedented environmental catastrophe that impacts all Californians …”

“The immediate crisis is visible to anyone who recently has traveled in the Sierra Nevada, especially in its southern range where entire mountainsides are brown with dying and dead forests. A plague of bark beetles following years of drought has killed 129 million trees and counting. …”

“Many of the biomass facilities that might have burned millions of dead trees for energy generation have closed or are closing. A century of fire suppression remains firmly entrenched within federal and state firefighting agencies and has left forest floors deep in flammable groundcover. Plans for prescribed burning to rid the forests of dense groundcover often clash with regional air quality regulations, even as emissions from catastrophic wildfires nullify hard-fought carbon reduction accomplishments. Finally, familiar old divisions between the timber industry and environmentalists hinder policy goals to thin overgrown forests to their original conditions.”

Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest Management in the Sierra Nevada

It seems the original native Californians used fire deliberately to manage, among other things, the buildup of dangerous amounts of flammable material in the forests:

“Tanoak acorns were a primary food stuff for most coastal tribes, and some are known to have secured individual tanoak for generations. They maintained these groves and improved the quality of the annual acorn harvest with fire. Frequent low severity fire nurtured the development of large trees that could easily be killed by severe fire that resulted from excess fuel accumulation. Burning also reduced the weevil population to reduce loss before and during storage.”

“The landscape implications of these fires is difficult to know with certainty, but a far larger area could have been burned to improve hunting. Broadcast burning of the forest increased the quantity of food for deer and other game and it made hunting itself far easier. Prairies and brush areas were regularly burned to improve game habitat, to nurture grass seed for food, to scorch grasshoppers for food, and to generate fresh materials for basket making.”

Native American Redwood Ecology

From Wikipedia:

“Prior to European colonization of the Americas, indigenous peoples used controlled burns to modify the landscape. These controlled fires were part of the environmental cycles and maintenance of wildlife habitats that sustained the people’s cultures and economies. What was initially perceived by colonists as ‘untouched, pristine’ wilderness in North America, was actually the cumulative result of these occasional, managed fires creating an intentional mosaic of grasslands and forests across North America, sustained and managed by the original Peoples of the landbase.”

Native American use of fire in ecosystems

The point is straightforward. Native Americans used small controlled fires to prevent the buildup of catastrophic levels of dead trees and brush that could fuel catastrophic fires. Today we have more tools to manage forests, but whatever means we use, we have to control the buildup of dangerous levels of dead trees and brush that sooner or later will explode into these catastrophic fires.

Rabid environmentalists are largely responsible for this. They are the ones who wanted forests to revert back to “natural” states without human interference. Even primitive native Americans knew better.

The Little Hoover Commission has the right prescription:

“Proactive forest management practices recommended by the Commission gradually will rebuild healthy high-country forests that store more water, resist new insect infestations and check the speed and intensity of wildfires. Investing upfront to create these healthier forests will pay dividends in the long run by curbing the spiraling costs of state firefighting and tree removal while building stronger recreation and sporting economies in the Sierra Nevada. Forests largely restored to the less crowded natural conditions of centuries ago — through greater use of prescribed burning to replace unilateral policies of fire suppression and mechanical thinning to remove buildup of forest fuels — also will improve wildlife habitat, enhance environmental quality and add to the resilience of mountain landscapes amidst the uncertaines of climate change.”

Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest Management in the Sierra Nevada

We need to manage forests for the benefit of human beings, not leave them to nature to build up time bombs that will lead to the kind of disasters we are seeing today. Jerry Brown, you are a liar, and your state is on fire. It isn’t climate change. It is human stupidity driven by political and ideological extremism.

Some more reading:

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

Environmentalist Policies Are Exacerbating Wildfires. It’s Time to Rethink Forest Management

The U.S. Forest Service used to be a profitable federal agency, McClintock said. “Up until the mid-1970s, we managed our National Forests according to well-established and time-tested forest management practices.”

“But 40 years ago, we replaced these sound management practices with what can only be described as a doctrine of benign neglect,” McClintock said. “Ponderous, Byzantine laws and regulations administered by a growing cadre of ideological zealots in our land management agencies promised to “save the environment.” The advocates of this doctrine have dominated our law, our policies, our courts and our federal agencies ever since.”

California Wildfires Caused By Radical Environmentalists, Not Climate Change

Some people are saying that droughts today are more severe than in the past and that is caused by man made climate change. From Wikipedia Droughts in California these years below were historically dry years (drought):

Drought Years# Years (counting inclusively)

Notice that some of the longest occurred from late 1920s through 1951 (10 and 9 year droughts). The 7 year drought from 2011-2017 is obviously not an outlier historically.

One thought on “Liar, Liar, State on Fire!

  1. One thing I don’t understand. A lot of forests in California are owned by the Federal government. Why doesn’t the Fed manage these properly regardless of what the California politicians want? Maybe President Trump can work on that!

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