California is enduring another summer of uncontrolled wildfires. As with everything else, it’s blamed on Climate Change.
Cal Fire reports that 560 wildfires are currently burning out of control. An area almost the size of Rhode Island has been charred so far. A combination of triple-digit temperatures and over a thousand lightning strikes sparked hundreds of fires within just the last couple of days.
Six people have died and dozens are missing. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. Property losses are mounting.
An interactive map shows the location of some of the fires, the number of acres burned, and the percentage of each fire that is contained. Cal Fire Wildfire Map
Californians deal with this every year. In 2018, a fire destroyed the entire town of Paradise. Eight-five people were killed in the fire that was started by a PG&E electrical transmission line. PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 when faced with $30 billion in potential liabilities.
CAUSES OF WILDFIRES
Cal Fire (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) reported that 2017 and 2018 saw the “deadliest and most destructive wildfires in its history.” The fires were “fueled by drought, an unprecedented buildup of dry vegetation, and extreme winds.”
Wildfires in California are often caused by lightning. Careless campers and hikers have been known to leave a campsite without properly putting out their campfires. In some cases, arsonists intentionally start fires.
Last year, a 68-year-old Missouri man started the “Reservoir” fire. He threw lit fast-food bags on the ground while driving to his 50th high school class reunion. He was said to be distraught over the death of his wife. Now he faces multiple arson charges.
John Maclean, author of five books about wildfires, says arsonist profiles can help investigators search for potential suspects. He helped create the profile of an arsonist. While the number of fires started by arsonists is down, the amount of damage done by those wildfires has increased significantly.
California policies of fire suppression – not letting a fire take its natural course – has led to an increase in the amount of combustible material available to burn. In addition, homes are now routinely build in forested areas, making them more vulnerable to being destroyed during wildfires.
California only has reports for wildfires beginning in 1932, when accurate records started being kept. Cal Fire lists the top 20 Largest California Wildfires. Of those, seven were caused by arson, four were caused by power lines, and seven were caused by lightning strikes. The cause of the other two are undetermined.
IS CLIMATE CHANGE TO BLAME?
But the number one reason given for the increase in the number of wildfires in California is “Climate Change.” The Union of Concerned Scientists states that there is “a strong connection between climate change and wildfires.” (I remember when it was called “Global Warming,” until no one could prove it.)
By their own admission, however, wildfires are a natural and beneficial part of many ecosystems. The UCS also acknowledged fire policies, such as fire suppression, play a part in the increase in wildfires. Even the poor little bark beetle became a scapegoat.
We understand that the Earth’s climate has been changing for tens of thousands of years before human industrialization. Core samples show periods of long droughts, massive volcanic activity, and past ice ages. The Earth did all this without any help from people, thank you very much.
Even Michael Shellenberger, a 20-year environmental activist and founder of Environmental Progress, disagrees with Climate Change alarmists. He was quoted in Forbes, “I also care about getting the facts and science right and have in recent months corrected inaccurate and apocalyptic news media coverage of fires in the Amazon and fires in California, both of which have been improperly presented as resulting primarily from climate change.”
Americans have been collectively working to improve the environment for decades, with notable success. We started recycling, lowering car emissions, and cleaning our lakes and rivers. Developing countries, such as India and China, have increased pollution and toxic emissions, but America gets the blame for not doing enough.
California wildfires are like taxes, you have to deal with them every year. Maybe instead of blaming environmentally-conscious Americans and artificial Climate Change, we should work on policies that actually contribute to solving problems.
Part of the blame rests squarely on California. The state has mismanaged its forests and grasslands for generations. They have allowed homes to be built in hazardous areas while decreasing the habitat of native species of animals.
California needs to take the mismanaged forests out of its own eye before it tries to take the recycling bins out of mine.