Yeah, yeah … I know. The one-cause-fits-all-problems people say that the disastrous fires in California are due to global warming. Record heat, record cold, record rain and record drought … they are all due to global warming.
It can be said that over the past decade or so, the earth has warmed a bit – that may well have an impact on weather. But the number and ferocity of recent California fires may be the result of the unintended consequences of environmental policies and so-called progressive policies.
We first have to understand that forest and brush fires have been occurring on our west coast for millennia. It is part of nature. In many ways, they are actually beneficial to the health of the environment – that is until humans started building homes and towns among the flora. And we build them out of combustible materials.
The growing number of structures destroyed and lives lost in these fires are as much due to the expansion of the population into the natural woodlands as the nature of the fires themselves. The loss of people and property are not necessarily an indicator of an increase in the number of fires or the number of acres they scorch. We are simply putting more people in harm’s way.
Almost all the statistics of tragic destruction and death are contemporary. It lines up with population growth in California. And people are not only the victims of the fires. People may be the leading cause of the fires – from tossed cigarettes to campfires … and even arson.
The need for electricity has resulted in innumerable fires caused by fallen powerlines and burned out transformers. Electric companies have often requested funding to provide safer power – burying cables and updated equipment. That funding has generally been denied by politicians in Sacramento.
So, where do the environmentalists fit it?
The green people has consistently opposed harvesting of timber. In the spirit of keeping everything “natural” that have opposed any number of actions that would significantly reduce the number and size of wildfires.
While they describe logging in the clear-cut tradition of the 1800s for political and fundraising reasons, modern timber management is more like farming. There is more of a culling approach – which would dramatically reduce the availability of fuel for these fires. Replacement trees are younger, smaller and not as dry. Responsible logging also removes deadwood and the carpet of leaves, pine needles and twigs that cover the ground.
Environmentalists have also opposed removing and replacing certain types of foliage that burn faster and hotter. They have opposed creating clear-cut zones around new real estate developments. And homeowners have preferred to live near nature. It is like those folks who build homes in a flood plain and wonder why they keep getting flooded.
Environmentalists opposed clearing a path for powerlines – leaving trees close enough to rub the cables, causing sparks. Trees falling in high winds have brought down powerlines and started fires. The devastating Getty Fire — that is burning out of control near Los Angeles at the time of this writing – was started by a tree coming in contact with a powerline.
The power gird problem is so serious, that California residents are subjected to having electric service shut down when condition warrant. This also means the loss of water to fight flames for residents with wells.
What is needed is a comprehensive strategy that addresses the many actual causes of these fires – and global warming is not a primary one. In short, the human activity that may be most responsible for the increasing deaths and destruction from California wildfires is not in the atmosphere. It is on the ground.
So, there ‘tis.
Article By: Larry Horist