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California's Devastating Fires Are Man-Caused -- But Not In The Way They Tell Us
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a425couple
2018-11-14 16:23:17 UTC
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from
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2018/07/30/californias-devastating-fires-are-man-caused-but-not-in-the-way-they-tell-us/#117c7dbb70af

(The chickens are coming home on those who wanted to immediately
stop all outdoor fires, and stop logging. Do recall, the indigenous
people regularly burned off the Yosemite Valley.
Forrest Rangers we talked to in the 1990s correctly predicted this.)

California's Devastating Fires Are Man-Caused -- But Not In The Way They
Tell Us
Chuck DeVore
Texas Public Policy Foundation VP and former California legislator


IDYLLWILD, CA - JULY 26: The Cranston Fire burns in San Bernardino
National Forest on July 26, 2018 near Idyllwild, California. Fire crews
are battling the 4,700-acre fire in the midst of a heat wave. (Photo by
Mario Tama/Getty Images)

California is once again on fire. Northern California’s Carr Fire has
killed six people, two of them firefighters, and continues to burn out
of control, claiming more than 700 homes and about 100,000 acres.

As a citizen-soldier in the California Army National Guard for two
decades, I often heard the gallows humor quip that California’s four
seasons were: flood, fire, earthquake and riot.

But, what was once an expected part of living in the Golden State is now
blamed on larger forces. A crisis, we are told, should never go to waste.

In that vein, the Sacramento Bee editorial board blamed the Carr Fire
foursquare on a man-caused buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In an editorial headlined, “The Carr Fire is a terrifying glimpse into
California’s future,” they write, “This is climate change, for real and
in real time. We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made
greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat.”

The Bee editorial board goes on to attack President Trump for proposing
to end California’s exceptional waiver from federal law regarding auto
emissions—in this case, California’s push to curtail tailpipe carbon
dioxide, something never envisioned when the Clean Air Act was debated
in 1970. At the time, the concern was pollution that directly harmed
health rather than carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring gas exhaled by
every living animal.

The problem with the Bee’s editorial is that making a passionate
argument is no substitute for the truth.

In 2005 while a freshman California Assemblyman, I had the chance to
visit Northern California and meet with the forest product industry
professionals who grew, managed, and harvested trees on private and
public lands. They told me of a worrisome trend started years earlier
where both federal and state regulators were making it more and more
difficult for them to do their jobs. As a result, timber industry
employment gradually collapsed, falling in 2017 to half of what it was
20 years earlier, with imports from Canada, China, and other nations
filling domestic need.

As timber harvesting permit fees went up and environmental challenges
multiplied, the people who earned a living felling and planting trees
looked for other lines of work. The combustible fuel load in the forest
predictably soared. No longer were forest management professionals
clearing brush and thinning trees.

But, fire suppression efforts continued. The result was accurately
forecast by my forest management industry hosts in Siskiyou County in
2005: larger, more devastating fires—fires so hot that they sterilized
the soil, making regrowth difficult and altering the landscape. More
importantly, fires that increasingly threatened lives and homes as they
became hotter and more difficult to bring under control.

In 2001, George E. Gruell, a wildlife biologist with five decades of
experience in California and other Western states, authored the book,
“Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests: A Photographic Interpretation of
Ecological Change Since 1849.” Gruell’s remarkable effort compared
hundreds of landscape photographs from the dawn of photography with
photos taken from the same location 100 years later or more. The
difference was striking. In the 1850s and 1860s, the typical Sierra
landscape was of open fields of grass punctuated by isolated pine stands
and a few scattered oak trees. The first branches on the pine trees
started about 20 feet up—lower branches having been burned off by
low-intensity grassfires. California’s Native American population had
for years shaped this landscape with fire to encourage the grasslands
and boost the game animal population.

As the Gold Rush remade modern California, timber was harvested and
replanted. Fires were suppressed because they threatened homes as well
as burned up a valuable resource. The landscape filled in with trees,
but the trees were harvested every 30 to 50 years. In the 1990s,
however, that cycle began to be disrupted with increasingly burdensome
regulations. The timber harvest cycle slowed, and, in some areas,
stopped completely, especially on the almost 60% of California forest
land owned by the federal government. Federal lands have not been
managed for decades, threatening adjacent private forests, while federal
funds designated for forest maintenance have been "borrowed" for fire
suppression expenses. The policies frequently reduce the economic value
of the forest to zero. And, with no intrinsic worth remaining, interest
in maintaining the forest declined, and with it, resources to reduce the
fuel load.

Some two decades ago, California produced so much wood waste from its
timber operations, including brush and small trees from thinning
efforts, that the resulting renewable biomass powered electric
generating plants across the length of the state. But cheap, subsidized
solar power, combined with air quality concerns (wood doesn’t burn as
cleanly as natural gas) and a lack of fuel due to cutbacks in logging,
led to the closure of many biomass generators. What used to be burned
safely in power generators is now burned in catastrophic fires.
Including the growing capture and use of landfill methane as a fuel,
California’s biomass energy generation last year was 22% lower than it
was 25 years before.

The issue was summarized by the Western Governors’ Association in their
2006 Biomass Task Force Report which noted:

…over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in
uncharacteristically destructive wildfires, and the resulting loss of
forest carbon is much greater than would occur if the forest had been
thinned before fire moved through. …failing to thin leads to a greater
greenhouse gas burden than the thinning created in the first place, and
that doesn’t even account for the avoided fossil fuel greenhouse gas
emissions due to the production of energy from the forest thinnings. In
the long term, leaving forests overgrown and prone to unnaturally
destructive wildfires means there will be significantly less biomass on
the ground, and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The Sacramento Bee editorial concludes with a stark warning: “California
must plan now for these and other aspects of global warming, as more of
the state becomes too hot, too dry, or too fire- or flood-prone to
safely live in, and as more of the world braces for the era of climate
refugees.”

Whether global climate change is a problem that can be solved by
California is a dubious proposition—one year’s worth of emission growth
in China is greater than California’s total emissions. But the action
needed to reduce the state’s growing forest fire threat would be the
same regardless of one’s belief in any problems posed by climate change:
start managing our forests again.

Chuck DeVore is Vice President of National Initiatives at the Texas
Public Policy Foundation. He was a California Assemblyman and is a Lt.
Colonel in the U.S. Army Retired Reserve.
Baxter
2018-11-14 18:55:24 UTC
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over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in
uncharacteristically destructive wildfires,
- The current wildfires are NOT forest fires.
- The Federal government owns most of the forests in CA and the State of CA
can do nothing about those forests.
Bill Shatzer
2018-11-14 22:05:32 UTC
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Post by Baxter
…over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in
uncharacteristically destructive wildfires,
- The current wildfires are NOT forest fires.
- The Federal government owns most of the forests in CA and the State of CA
can do nothing about those forests.
CalFire's 2010 Ownership of Forest and Rangelands in California
The forests of California are plentiful, diverse and managed for many
different objectives. A recently published book chapter, "Forestry" in
the 2016 Ecosystems of California book, provides a detailed overview of
the history and future directions of California's forests. Of the
approximately 33 million acres of forest in California, federal agencies
(including the USDA Forest Service and USDI Bureau of Land Management
and National Park Service) own and manage 19 million acres (57%). State
and local agencies including CalFire, local open space, park and water
districts and land trusts own another 3%. 40% of California's forestland
is owned by families, Native American tribes, or companies. Industrial
timber companies own 5 million acres (14%). 9 million acres are owned by
individuals with nearly 90% of these owners having less than 50 acres
of forest land

https://ucanr.edu/sites/forestry/California_forests/

IOW, the State of California has control over only 3% of California's
forest lands.

Just another example of Trump's profound ignorance on pubic display yet
again.

peace and justice,
a425couple
2018-11-14 23:33:16 UTC
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Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Baxter
…over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in
uncharacteristically destructive wildfires,
- The current wildfires are NOT forest fires.
- The Federal government owns most of the forests in CA and the State of CA
can do nothing about those forests.
Just another example of Trump's profound ignorance on pubic display yet
again.
You two sillies with your TDS are something else.
Neither I, not the cited article mention POTUS Trump.
Bill Shatzer
2018-11-15 00:23:32 UTC
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Post by a425couple
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Baxter
…over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in
uncharacteristically destructive wildfires,
- The current wildfires are NOT forest fires.
- The Federal government owns most of the forests in CA and the State of CA
can do nothing about those forests.
Just another example of Trump's profound ignorance on pubic display
yet again.
You two sillies with your TDS are something else.
Neither I, not the cited article mention POTUS Trump.
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to the
State of California's forestry management practices. Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to pass
without correction.

As long as we've got that straight we can proceed to other things. Like
why the so called "caravan" was repeatedly proclaimed an existential
threat to the united states by both Trump's speeches and the good folks
at Fox News in the week or ten days preceding the election and then
disappeared completely once the voting was done.

Who would have thought it that easy to turn back an "invasion".

peace and justice,
Harold Burton
2018-11-27 03:51:08 UTC
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Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by a425couple
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Baxter
â݊over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in
uncharacteristically destructive wildfires,
- The current wildfires are NOT forest fires.
- The Federal government owns most of the forests in CA and the State of CA
can do nothing about those forests.
Just another example of Trump's profound ignorance on pubic display
yet again.
You two sillies with your TDS are something else.
Neither I, not the cited article mention POTUS Trump.
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to the
State of California's forestry management practices. Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to pass
without correction.
It's neither stupid nor inaccurate. Try again.


snicker
Bill Shatzer
2018-11-27 17:40:47 UTC
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Post by Harold Burton
Post by Bill Shatzer
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to the
State of California's forestry management practices. Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to pass
without correction.
It's neither stupid nor inaccurate. Try again.
You got me there. It's both stupid AND inaccurate.

peace and justice
Al Czervik
2018-11-28 07:03:38 UTC
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Post by Bill Shatzer
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to the
State of California's forestry management practices.  Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to pass
without correction.
It's neither stupid nor inaccurate.  Try again.
You got me there.  It's both stupid AND inaccurate.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/us/california-today-100-million-dead-trees-prompt-fears-of-giant-wildfires.html
Baxter
2018-11-28 15:27:12 UTC
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Post by Al Czervik
Post by Bill Shatzer
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to the
State of California's forestry management practices. Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to
pass without correction.
It's neither stupid nor inaccurate. Try again.
You got me there. It's both stupid AND inaccurate.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/us/california-today-100-million-dead
-trees-prompt-fears-of-giant-wildfires.html
And most of those dead trees are owned by the Federal Government or Private
corporations and not by the State of California.

Or are you advocating that the State of California sieze ownership?
Baxter
2018-11-28 15:32:51 UTC
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Post by Baxter
Post by Al Czervik
Post by Bill Shatzer
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to
the State of California's forestry management practices. Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to
pass without correction.
It's neither stupid nor inaccurate. Try again.
You got me there. It's both stupid AND inaccurate.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/us/california-today-100-million-dea
d -trees-prompt-fears-of-giant-wildfires.html
And most of those dead trees are owned by the Federal Government or
Private corporations and not by the State of California.
Or are you advocating that the State of California sieze ownership?
Trump wants to make the situation worse:
-----------
But environmentalists claimed that the administration, led by Trump, who
has blamed “gross mismanagement of the forests”, was using the fire to
pave the way for more logging on federal land, with potentially
disastrous results.

“Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke are being dangerously dishonest,” said Chad
Hanson, a forest ecologist who was involved in a major 2016 study that
found that logged areas with lower environmental protections have the
most intense, fast-moving fires.

https://is.gd/yjkLEm
Al Czervik
2018-11-29 14:49:29 UTC
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Post by Byker
Post by Baxter
Post by Al Czervik
Post by Bill Shatzer
But Trump hisself advanced the claim that the fires were due to
the State of California's forestry management practices. Such a
fundamentally stupid and inaccurate claim can hardly be allowed to
pass without correction.
It's neither stupid nor inaccurate. Try again.
You got me there. It's both stupid AND inaccurate.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/19/us/california-today-100-million-dea
d -trees-prompt-fears-of-giant-wildfires.html
And most of those dead trees are owned by the Federal Government or
Private corporations and not by the State of California.
Not on private land.
Post by Byker
Post by Baxter
Or are you advocating that the State of California sieze ownership?
-----------
But environmentalists claimed that the administration, led by Trump, who
has blamed “gross mismanagement of the forests”, was using the fire to
pave the way for more logging on federal land, with potentially
disastrous results.
“Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke are being dangerously dishonest,” said Chad
Hanson, a forest ecologist who was involved in a major 2016 study that
found that logged areas with lower environmental protections have the
most intense, fast-moving fires.
This is why you have to sell your shitty software for free. You know
shit about the industry.

Walt In Seattlle
2018-11-15 04:07:13 UTC
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On Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 3:34:04 PM UTC-8, a425couple wrote that "neither I, not the cited article mention POTUS Trump." Does the 425 couple actually read what they post?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2018/07/30/californias-devastating-fires-are-man-caused-but-not-in-the-way-they-tell-us/#4c473e5570af
________________________________________
[...] We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat.” The [Sacramento] Bee editorial board goes on to attack President Trump for proposing to end California’s exceptional waiver from federal law regarding auto emissions—in this case, California’s push to curtail tailpipe carbon dioxide, something never envisioned when the Clean Air Act was debated in 1970. [...] The problem with the Bee’s editorial is that making a passionate argument is no substitute for the truth. [...]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Byker
2018-11-14 18:57:30 UTC
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Post by a425couple
from
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2018/07/30/californias-devastating-fires-are-man-caused-but-not-in-the-way-they-tell-us/#117c7dbb70af
The chickens are coming home on those who wanted to immediately stop all
outdoor fires, and stop logging. Do recall, the indigenous people
regularly burned off the Yosemite Valley.
For a long time it was believed that the Indians had little impact on the
land they inhabited, taking only what was needed and moving on. However,
this version of history is not true. Native tribes and in fact all people
have changed the landscape they live on to meet their needs for survival and
growth. Fires were purposely set by Indians for many reasons, all critical
for their survival: providing food, places to live, safety, and in warfare.

"The Indians could remember years when their homeland caught fire; sometimes
they set blazes to clear a patch of land...Lewis and Clark saw land that had
been burned deliberately to open up the country, and the Indians entertained
them at night by setting fire to tall trees."

-- "The Big Burn", by Timothy Egan (2009), page 111
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How did Native Americans use fire?

According to Williams (2000) Native Americans used fire for the following
reasons:

Hunting. Fire was used to drive large game such as deer, elk, and bison into
areas that made hunting easier. Sometimes animals were driven by fire over
cliffs or into narrow canyons, rivers or lakes where they could be more
easily killed. Torches were set to find deer and attract fish. Smoke was a
useful tool in forcing raccoons and bears from their tree dens.

Growing Food. Fire was used to clear areas for growing food; prevent fields
from growing back to shrubs and trees while they were fallow; increase the
yield of berries such as strawberries, raspberries, huckleberries; and clear
areas under oak trees to make the gathering of acorns easier.

Insect Collection. Fire was used to collect and roast crickets and
grasshoppers. Smoke was used to drive bees from nests aiding in honey
collection.

Pest Management. Fire helped to keep the population levels of pests such as
rodents, poisonous snakes, flies, and mosquitoes down.

Range Management. Fire stimulated the growth of new grasses for grazing
animals and kept the area from growing back to shrubs and trees.

Fireproofing. Native Americans knew how to fight fire with fire. Fires were
deliberately set near settlements and other special areas. If a fire moved
through the area it might go out when reaching the already burned area
because there was no fuel.

Warfare and Signaling. Fires were purposely set in fighting enemies. A
cleared area was hard to hide in. Fires were used to destroy enemy property.
Fires were set during an escape to camouflage movement. Large fires were
also set to notify others of enemy movements and gather forces for fighting.

Economic Extortion. Some tribes burned large areas to prevent settlers and
traders from finding game. They would then trade with them for dried meats.

Clearing Areas for Travel. Keeping trails open and free from brush was
important for travel, and safety.

Tree Felling. Trees were important for building structures and canoes.
Before axes were available through trade, Native Americans used fire to kill
trees. One method was to drill two intersecting holes in a trunk, put
charcoal in one hole and let the smoke escape in the other. The other method
involved encircling a tree with fire at the base, "girdling" it, and
eventually killing it.

Clear Riparian Areas. A riparian area is land near water. Clearing brush
made hunting for beaver, muskrats, moose, and waterfowl easier.

Reference: William, G.W. 2000. Introduction to Aboriginal Fire Use in North
America. Fire Management Today. 60(3):8-12.

Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_use_of_fire

http://www.wildlandfire.com/docs/biblio_indianfire.htm

http://www.californiachaparral.com/enativeamericans.html

"Nothing will ever ever ever EVER stop wildfires in California. NOTHING. And
passing programs off that they WILL accomplish this deceives the public.":
http://tinyurl.com/yc5gksux
Walt In Seattlle
2018-11-14 22:38:42 UTC
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In regard to the item posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 8:23:30 AM UTC-8 by a425couple: Does the Area code 425 couple always post something out-of-context and not current enough to properly address a given issue or more recent news? Do they carefully consider whether the source for what they post is truly credible on the topic at hand? I do wonder....

The Carr Fire was caused by a wheel rim scraping asphalt after a tire went flat.

https://www.axios.com/californias-deadly-carr-fire-started-by-flat-tire-860653d1-2bc2-4630-9d8b-9a86d82355db.html

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=vIbsW_fvJ4bI8APppqeoBQ&q=the+carr+fire+was+caused+by&btnK=Google+Search&oq=the+carr+fire+was+caused+by&gs_l=psy-ab.3..33i22i29i30l3.3588.12151..12786...0.0..0.74.1478.27......0....1..gws-wiz.....0..0j0i131j0i10j0i22i30.h7nUaSvzfPI

The best procedures for managing forests is a matter under debate. Conceivably, there may have been some wildfires in California and elsewhere that burned to a greater extent than if/when trees had not been thinned and some brush not burned away before fire season. However, it's becoming more dificult to find a time when it's NOT fire season and one should not carp or lay blame until one has walked a mile in the shoes of those who have to do the job. It's not a piece of cake!

Conflicting priorities, changing circumstances and evolving research are combined into a mix of factors that make such work quite difficult to establish and know you're doing the right thing.

For California and much of the Western U.S., one can't honestly ignore the increasingly potent factor of climate change in wildfires. When temperatures go way up, humidity goes way down whiles winds pick up, the incidence of wildfires shall naturally increase along with severity as well as difficulty in containing them. Extended drought, which is exacerbated by a warming climate and particularly California's regional climate, only adds more difficulty. You don't believe me? Go do some research....

https://phys.org/news/2017-07-climate-wildfires-experts.html

California's Santa Ana winds have normally been an EARLY Fall event. Last year, they came in December. This year, in November. Dig into data and you'll find temperatures are rising in California. Summers are now brutally hot, as demonstrated by records for those areas where the Carr fire did its worst.

President Trump claims California is causing its own problems by changing how water naturally flows from or to rivers and streams. But does he present any credible evidence to back that claim? Of course, he does not!

Again, as has already been noted by another poster, the Camp and Woolsey fires were NOT forest fires! We'd all do well to remember what impact temperature and wind have had in attempts to fight these fires. At some point, it might be possible to describe California's climate as plagued mostly by fire and flood throughout large portions of the state, all made worse by warming climate.
Walt In Seattlle
2018-11-14 23:06:10 UTC
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The text below was incorrectly composed. It shouold read, in part, as: "Conceivably, there may have been some wildfires in California and elsewhere that burned to a greater extent than if/when trees had been thinned and some brush burned away before fire season."

On Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 2:38:42 PM UTC-8, Walt In Seattlle wrote:

[...]

The best procedures for managing forests is a matter under debate. Conceivably, there may have been some wildfires in California and elsewhere that burned to a greater extent than if/when trees had not been thinned and some brush not burned away before fire season.
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