Wildfires in perspective

we are not seeing record wildfires

We are hearing a lot of linkage of current wildfires to climate change, but an honest look at the record shows that is not true.


10 thoughts on “Wildfires in perspective

  1. You can see what you want in this chart. I see that the last years (and 2018, 2019 and 2020 are not on the chart) show a clear break from the pattern of the previous 50 years. I see a lot of acres burned when there was more forest to burn, before development had encroached as it has today and before the advent of modern forest fire fighting and prevention. Smokey The Bear did not exist before 1944. In short, one can easily see in this chart evidence that climate change is having an effect on the scale of forest fires. Comparing 2017 with 1930 is an apples and oranges comparison. Is THAT “honest?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First, did you read the article or just look at the chart?

      There is more forest now than in 1930.

      But the point f the chart is not to establish cause, it is simply to point out that the claims of record fires are simply false.

      You should read the article for more perspective. The policy of suppression, no matter what, and the opposition to controlled burns are why we are having very destructive fires today, but climate change IS NOT the primary problem.


      1. “We are hearing a lot of linkage of current wildfires to climate change, but an honest look at the record shows that is not true.”

        Uh, no. It doesn’t.

        Here is an example of an honest look . . .


        Sure, if someone claims that we have more acres of forest fire now than at any time in the past they are wrong. But the evidence presented in that chart IS evidence of a linkage. The doubling of the rate now versus the 1970’s and 1980’s corresponds to warmer and drier weather.

        As for more trees now, the devil is in the details. Generally speaking tree plantations are not subject to out-of-control forest fires. The growth in forests comes from plantings. Naturally spreading forests are mainly in the East where former small farms revert to forest. The East does not have the extremes of dryness and heat found in the West. And, as I noted earlier forest fire prevention and control changed significantly after World War 2.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad for the chart which clearly shows that forest fires used to be — within living memory — much worse than they have been recently. The accompanying article contains this quote, which deserves emphasis:

    “Rahm Emmanuel popularized the phrase ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste,’ but it was economist Robert Higgs who showed that crises are the mortal enemy of liberty. His great work Crisis and Leviathan lays bare the state’s tradition of claiming new powers during emergencies, powers that rarely are relinquished fully when the crisis ends.

    “Higgs admitted he was worried about the correlation between liberty and crises, because he understood a basic truth: there will always be human crises.”


  3. We have wild fires in California every year. 57% of the forests in that state are federal lands.

    Trump has been sniping at CA for years for bad management.

    If it was so bad, which is apparently was, then no reason for Trump not to fire up his interior department to start cleaning up the lands he was responsible for. From the day of his inauguration.

    I am sure he could have issued the orders, negotiated funding and started working on it instead of bitching about it.

    The few meetings and orders could be squeezed in between nines on the golf course while scarfing down a cheeseburger.

    But we know he never takes responsibility for anything.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Forest Service is just as hamstrung in CA, OR and WA as private owners.

      People have moved into the woodlands and once there, demand fire suppression.

      Foresters have to wait for the right conditions of humidity, wind and temperature to do a controlled burn. Then they have to give notice to the State, no matter who they are. Environmentalists then go to court for an injunction based on air quality, and by the time it comes to court, the favorable conditions have passed, and the injunction is moot.

      There hasn’t been significant controlled burning since the 60s.

      Timber harvest is also curtailed and California alone has over 100 million standing dead trees.

      Until the States change their forestry regulations and air quality laws, there is nothing Trump or private foresters can do.


      1. “Nothing”.

        Shoot, he stripped environmental regulations faster than pole dancers and their clothes. Coal miners can dump effluent into rivers that pollute downstream. But he can’t change policies for trimming underbrush, with the help of Congress as needed, in the departments he is responsible for.

        My beef is not that he hasn’t done so so much as his incessant blaming CA for what he can do himself.

        That being said, allowing homes in the vicinity of public lands should be stopped. The cost in lives of firefighters as well as the cost in treasure far, far outweighs the benefits.

        Liked by 1 person

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