California Wildfire season begins with state still blaming climate change
California wildfire season began with Gov. Newsom blaming climate change after $55.8 billion from wildfire losses, threatened federal funds cut-off, and PG&E's bankruptcy.
Gov. Newsom unveiled another 60-day Strike Force update "aimed at preventing and responding to catastrophic wildfires" after $13.8 billion in wildfire losses in 2017, $12 billion in 2018, PG&E suffering a $30-billion wildfire-related bankruptcy, and President Trump threatening to cut billions in FEMA recovery funds due to reckless forest management.
With wildfire insurance losses continuing to mount and under extreme pressure from President Trump to fund traditional forest management techniques, Gov. Newsom formed a 60-day Strike Force in February and budgeted $1 billion in additional funding for what he termed critical fuel reduction projects, to support prescribed fire crews, forest thinning, and other forest health projects to address 2019 wildfire mitigation.
Newsom called a June 22 press conference to release the Strike Force "Status Report on Catastrophic Wildfires, Climate Change and our Energy Future." Newsom highlighted that by declaring a state of emergency in March, he had circumvented the state's typically relentless legal obstruction efforts by California's environmental lobby groups to fast-track 200 critical forest management projects to protect California high-risk communities.
But the governor's report continues to claim that California is being victimized by the "new reality" of global "climate change" forces that are out of its control when he stated:
Our recent, terrifying history bears that out. Fifteen of the 20 most destructive wildfires in the state's history have occurred since 2000 and 10 of the most destructive fires have occurred since 2015. Wildfires don't discriminate — they are a rural, suburban and urban danger. We all have an individual responsibility to step up and step in for our communities as we confront new and growing threats.
Newsom also failed to acknowledge that California was recently ranked again as the worst state in the nation by the American Society of Civil Engineers for accumulating a $65-billion infrastructure funding deficit over the last decade that mainly involves dams, waterways, flood control, roads and bridges, seaports, and tunnels.
Newsom has also not reversed the new set of regulations issued by the California Board of Forestry called the "2013 Road Rules." The rules drastically increased the costs and delays associated with submitting annual "timber harvesting plans." As a result of destroying the economics of the industry, hundreds of logging roads that had acted as fire breaks for a century were abandoned. As a result, California wildfires now have more fuel, burn hotter and firefighter access to dense forest has been constricted.
Wildfire Today reported that the summer's first "Red Flag Warning" will be in effect for areas of Western Nevada and Northwest California from 11 A.M. on June 26 until 1 A.M. on June 28. The forecast calls for relative humidity levels at 8 to 10 percent and southwest winds of 15- to 25-mph with gusts at 40 to 45. A Fire Weather Watch is in effect for Southern Nevada for the same time frame and similar weather conditions.