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A wildfire in Northern California (Photo: USDA)

California is On Fire Again and it was Preventable

Environmentalists are causing actual global warming with wildfires

By Katy Grimes, September 8, 2020 2:45 am

For decades, traditional forest management was scientific and successful, until ideological, preservationist zealots wormed their way into government and began the 40-year overhaul of sound federal forest management through abuse of the Endangered Species Act and the no-use movement.

California Globe has talked with Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) numerous times about this very issue. McClintock has warned, “Our forests are now catastrophically overgrown, often carrying four times the number of trees the land can support.  In this stressed and weakened condition, our forests are easy prey for drought, disease, pestilence and fire.”

Traditional forest management had simple guidelines: thin the forest when it becomes too difficult to walk through; too many trees in the woods will compete with one another, because the best trees will grow at a slower rate.

Today, only privately managed forests are maintained through the traditional forest management practices: thinning, cutting, clearing, prescribed burns, and the disposal of the resulting woody waste.

And private lands do not suffer the wildfires the rest of the state does.

Yet the same climate change impacts private lands as public lands, but private forests are not burning down because they are properly managed. Or if a fire does break out on privately managed forest land, it is often extinguished more quickly and easily because the trees aren’t so close together, and the underbrush has been cleared away.

We are now living with the result of radical environmentalism ideology – that we should abandon our public lands to overpopulation, overgrowth, and in essence, benign neglect, McClintock said. “Forest fires, fueled by decades of pent up overgrowth are now increasing in their frequency and intensity and destruction.”

He added, “excess timber WILL come out of the forest in one of only two ways.  It is either carried out or it burns out.”

McClintock was able to pass legislation in 2018, which streamlined the environmental reviews for the Tahoe Basin. “The Forest Service regional manager told me it will take their review from 800 pages to 40 pages, and allow them to begin to get the forest there back to a sustainable level,” McClintock said.

The U.S. Forest Service used to be a profitable federal agency, McClintock said. “Up until the mid-1970’s, 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.”

While California is on fire again, it isn’t difficult to look back on recent state policies under eight years of Gov. Jerry Brown, and now California’s current Governor Gavin Newsom, who served as Jerry Brown’s Lieutenant Governor.

Governor Brown claimed that devastating fires were the “new normal,” and openly supported Obama-era regulations which resulted in the new normal: an endless and devastating fire season every year.

Michael Shellenberger, best-selling author of “Apocalypse Never,” recently Tweeted: “California’s bet on renewables, & its shunning of natural gas & nuclear, is directly responsible for the state’s blackouts and high electricity prices.”

Notably, as California Globe recently reported, “With wildfires burning 1.3 million acres throughout the state, and rolling power blackouts from the weak electrical grid, the California State Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass Assembly Bill 326 to make driving an Electric Vehicle ‘more accessible for all Californians’ through month-to-month memberships without long-term loans or leases.”

There is a total disconnect between California Democrats and the people of the state devastated by wildfires.

For anyone still unsure about the motives of environmentalists, the list of AB 326 supporters explains a lot:

Coalition for Clean Air, California League of Conservation Voters, CalPIRG, Sierra Club, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Plug In America, Voices for Progress, Union of Concerned Scientists, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, California Reinvestment Coalition, Consumer Action, Center for Biological Diversity, Rivian, Consumer Attorneys of California, CalSTART, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), Canoo, and the City of Thousand Oaks.

Would these groups have California residents under constant wildfire threat for a few more electric cars?

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24 thoughts on “California is On Fire Again and it was Preventable

  1. In the past, many of the trees burned by the fires have been salvageable. They have been left to rot because our elected leaders are unwilling to stand up to the environmentalists who oppose any kind of logging. We need the jobs from logging and from lumbermills. Plus, the lumber produced couldn’t hurt with our never ending housing crisis,

      1. Not true. While the wood of bug kill is distressed, it still has market value for lumber that is non-stressed, such as fence posts and panels. Some people actually like the ‘worm wood’ appearance of bug kill. Most people shun it because of the color it turns with a blue hue to it. But it can still be milled and sold. Imagine buying a fence post for half the cost at Home Depot because it is a salvaged log rather than one brought here by a ship from a foreign country.

  2. Do environmentalists call forests with 90% of the trees dead “healthy” or sustainable? I own forest land that adjoins National Forest. No matter how well I manage my land the fire and disease danger from the government controlled forest overwhelms anything I can do. If their trees die due to disease the disease spreads to healthy trees on private land. If the forest fire is raging out of control due to excess fuel on government land my land will burn too.

  3. The blue stain fungus that the beetles carry causes the wood to rot in record time. Pine does not make good fence posts as it rots. The worm wood look is not from beetle killed trees. China does buy some logs for making caskets as they don’t care if the wood rots. There is a small market for blue stained wood but my logger friends tell me the log price at the mills makes it impossible to make money selling the logs. Without a government subsidy logging dead trees is not feasible. Bug trees are mostly chipped or piled for burning. I have read that the total cost to remove a bug tree and haul it off runs about $1,000 a tree. A logger told me he was getting $50 a Load for logs at the mill. Bug trees don’t even make decent firewood unless you process them as soon as the tree dies. I have thousands of them and all I can do is pile and burn them in the winter.

  4. This article is correct. Good job. My late father-in-law was the forester for Southern Cal Edison for 25 years post-WWII. He was American Forester of the Year 6 times. He oversaw 30,000 acres of forest around the Shaver Lake area. He stressed forest management. He likened forest management to a farmer managing his crops. He knew the value of keeping the forests logged and thinned, and keeping the undergrowth cleaned up. The state/feds didn’t do a very good job of that back then and they still don’t, but not because of the foresters, but because the state/feds listen to the Sierra Club and “environmentalists” instead of foresters and conservationists. They told the state/federal officials to let the forests be “natural.” Well what we’re seeing is natural. If we don’t keep the forests managed and cleaned up, nature will eventually do it for you. When the drought times hit, because the trees hadn’t been harvested and thinned as they should have been there wasn’t enough water for them all to survive. Millions of trees died. The dead trees should have been removed, quickly, at government expense if necessary. But that wasn’t done and bark beetles proliferated. Thinning the distressed and dead trees would have helped greatly. Keeping the forest floors cleaned up of the increasing debris from drought was also important so that fires couldn’t get a big foothold and could be more easily controlled, either with a controlled burn or by stopping the fire. The recent BS about 100 years in the making and, oh, climate change is just cover so the state/feds don’t have to take the blame for decades of poor forest management. Foresters have know for a long time how to manage forests, but state/federal bureaucrats and people like the Sierra Club keep getting in the way. The devastation is staggering and, frankly, it’s on them. It’ll be interesting to see if the state/feds have learned the lesson, but I doubt they have.

  5. Don’t believe this twist. We know NOTHING about forest management, less now than those forty years taught us. Those “treatment” practices “authorities” believe are good management are not. They are for men. The forest manages itself as all Nature does. When man is gone, finally, Nature will return to Herself: well, healthy, free of interference. Incidentally, two diseases plague and diminish the trees in Central coast (California) for longer than fifty years. Monterey/Forest/Big Sur Land management, etc, ——–did nothing. Took no action. That is the reason for poor health. PAY ATTENTION when (political) people make noises about closing the parks and forests, not allowing people use: They will, in future, prevent people from using nature. Example: Labor Day weekend, California parks were closed to the public. The beaches were closed also. Beware.

    1. You seem to be the same person who pops up in comments occasionally who typically says two contradictory things in the same paragraph. In this case, DON’T manage the forests and DO manage the forests? I think you need to examine what you are saying and how you are saying it so you don’t contradict yourself. That is, if you want anyone to listen, no matter what your perspective is.

  6. We know NOTHING about forest management? Really? Whi is we? The Finns do, the Scandinavians do. Why are there no forest fires in Scandinavia or other parts of the world like there is in California. Because of gross mismanagement. The forest is an amazing resource that benefits all levels of the ecosystem. California needs help. Let’s bring in the best people from Finland and Scandinavia to help manage the beauty and grandeur of California.

  7. California “Environmentalists” believe that Climate Change is real and is caused by too much CO2. To fight this imagined threat, they have been using forests as a means of Carbon sequestration. The more wood there is in a forest, the less CO2 there is in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this policy results in forests with high concentrations of fuel. Now, the forests are being devastated by fires and the CO2 that was “sequestered” is returning to the atmosphere where it came from – along with incredible amount of smoke going as far as Europe!

    1. The more oil there is underground the more carbon sequestration, yet we still pump it out, burn it up, and continue to put co2 into the atmosphere. The balanced chemical reaction is 2C8H 18 + 25O2 → 16CO2 +18H 2O. The burning of wood is similar C6H10O5 (Cellulose)+ 6O2—-> 6CO2+ 5H2O+ Heat. Both have the undesired results of putting co2 into the air. One comes from the surface of the earth and is cycled over and over continually. The other has been sequestered underground for millions of years (unless you argue the earth is only 10,000 years old) and is just being brought to the surface recently by the millions of tons, burned, and put into the atmosphere in the form of co2. I can’t help but think that both the burning of fossil fuels and the burning of our forests together contribute to the rise in the greenhouse gas of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, hence climate change. Trees are essential in the carbon cycle. co2 is changed into o2 through the trees, then we breath in the o2 and exhale co2,and it goes back again. Weather we put the blame on poor forest management, the burning of fossil fuels, climate change, the government, environmentalists or whatever else man can think of to throw the dynamics of the earths carbon cycle under the bus, it is in trouble. The trees just can’t keep up with it all. Yet we sit here now arguing on how to put out the fires of a different nature and who is the best to put them out. Are we in a league of morons trying to separate ourselves from mother nature in the worst way?

    2. Hi William – Here’s a win win approach — remove carbon from the atmosphere by using trees as a pump, storing carbon as they grow. Then harvest them and sequester the carbon in buildings etc made from their wood, for the life of the building. Replant so young trees can continue the cycle – absorb, harvest, long term wood utilization, replant. A virtuous cycle with multiple benefits — jobs, healthier forests, carbon removed from the atmosphere. If you want to amp this up, use “cross laminated timber”, which stores about 4x as much carbon as conventional construction. Lots of winners in this one. / David

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