I live in California, and right now I’m grateful the horror of the wildfires are nowhere near where I am. But given the nature of the demon, anything could happen at a moment’s notice and I take nothing for granted. It’s hot, the winds are picking up and all that brush in the nearby hills is tinder-dry.
The Carr Fire and the Ferguson Fire at Yosemite to the north are both far enough away in miles, but the horror of it all is as close as my breath. Consider that the Mendocino Complex Fire has devastated nearly 280,000 acres and is only 58 percent controlled.
The fires in Southern California are also devastating, and the Holy Fire, still wildly out of control, is the result of arson. That’s right, someone started it intentionally and the man in question is in custody. If I had my way, he and anyone else who starts such fires would face the death penalty.
Thousands of firefighters are on the lines, from all states as well as Australia and New Zealand. There are also those men and women who are engaged in searching for possible victims of the fires as they trace down people considered missing, whereabouts unknown.
There have been some known fatalities, several civilians, several firefighters and at least one utility worker, in addition to injuries to firefighters. Considering the magnitude of the fires, it’s almost a miracle more people haven’t been killed; but then, it isn’t over yet.
The total of structures destroyed is still a changing figure – thousands of homes, businesses and farm buildings – and of course, the total of number of animals killed is unknown – domestic pets, farm animals and wildlife. It’s almost inconceivable.
Who or what is to blame for all this destruction?
If you listen to California Governor Jerry Brown, an avowed environmentalist, this is the “new normal” – a situation caused by man- made climate change. We should get used to it.
Jerry and all his compatriots in the Green movement, the print and broadcast media, academia, and of course, plus politicians on the state and national level have bought into the concept that humans are changing the climate, and fires are the result.
They believe that and refuse to consider anything else.
But there is another consideration, and that relates to the political decisions made by the Clinton and the Obama administrations dealing with how our forests are managed.
Prior to that, forests, private and government owned, were cared for by the U.S. Forest Service as well as private logging companies. Their goal was to preserve the forests so they would survive for the future. Trees would be thinned when they became overgrown, dead and diseased trees were removed, underbrush cleared out and controlled burns conducted as needed.
It worked perfectly, and the concept maintained the forests and allowed logging to provide lumber for that industry and all of us who need wood for houses and furniture and other consumer products.
But then the feds got involved, influenced by the Greens, who had decided that humans were causing the destruction of “nature” and they knew best how to rectify it. They wanted to “re-wild” the forests.
It may have started with the move to “protect” the Northern Spotted Owl, but it ended with the destruction of the logging industry and the over-regulation of forest management. There used to be 147 timber mills; now there are only 29 in the country!
It became against the law to cut dead trees, to remove fallen trees, to thin out growing trees so trees will grow healthier, to clear out underbrush, to have controlled burns, and even to cut fire-roads into forests, roads which firefighters need during a conflagration.
Despite an infestation of the pine-bark beetle in the Sierra Nevada, which has left thousands of dead trees, it is impossible to remove them. As a result, they’re a disaster awaiting just one spark – which, as we are seeing, is exactly what happens.
The Forest Service says in 2015 there were 20 million dead trees in the Sierra; 66 million in 2016; and last year it was 102 million.
My friend James Delingpole, writing about this, minces no words: “In the name of saving the environment these eco-fascist ideologues, Gaia-worshippers, bandwagon-jumpers, hucksters, virtue-signallers, anti-capitalists and brain-dead bleeding hearts have actually helped kill it. … Specifically, the culprits are all those environmental campaigners, eco lobbyists, green NGO’s, lawyers and politicians responsible for turning California and the Pacific Northwest into a gigantic fire hazard.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself; and as he went on to say, the Greenies have not only killed the forests and jobs and communities, they have also killed people. The result is they have blood on their hands.
Firefighters call the dead tress and snags “widow-makers” – exemplified by one firefighter killed in Yosemite as he was hit by a falling dead tree.
Congressman Tom McClintock (R-4th Dsct.), Chair of the Subcomittee on Federal Lands, Natural Resources Committee, speaks bluntly about how the federal bureaucracy has caused the catastrophic situation in our forests.
The Obama Administration in 2012 put in place a major overhaul of forest regulations burdened by bureaucratic overkill, which essentially ended up with regulations making it virtually impossible to do anything to a tree or a branch without lengthy scrutiny.
McClintock calls it benign neglect: “Excess timber will come out of the forest in one of only two ways. It is either carried out or it burns out.”
It’s burning now, and this is just the actual beginning of the regular California “fire season.”
Heaven only knows what we’ll face as the weeks pass, but it won’t be good … and the latest weather forecast is for continued triple-digit temps.