Funny how global warming hovers the globe - but only lands in California
According to California's governor, Gavin Newsom, global warming caused the big fires ravaging his state, as well as its two ideological sidekicks, Washington and Oregon:
"The debate is over around climate change," Newsom said as he toured a burn area in Northern California. "Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes. It’s not an intellectual debate. It’s not even debatable any longer."
He also said he's "exhausted that we have to continue to bait this issue."
"This is a climate damn emergency," he said. "This is real."
So don't blame him.
But there's every reason to blame him and his greenie policies that are quite literally fueling the destruction.
Since the entire press that is searchable on Google repeats the global warming blather, I decided to consult some real science and got quite a different picture, and not a flattering one to Newsom.
According to the Cal State University fire scientists, whose website indicates they are the only ones studying this, the number one reason for the increased incidence of California's fires is:
1. FOREST “FUEL LOADS” ARE HIGH.
The forest floor grows dense with flammable dead branches and brush when it’s not cleared out, either manually or when burned. In many parts of California’s wildlands, these forest "fuels" have not burned or been cleared for decades, due in part to fire suppression policies by state and federal agencies.
"One of the reasons we're observing more fires is because of 100 years of poor Forest Service policy where we didn't allow prescribed fire or wildfires to burn," says Craig Clements, Ph.D., director of the San José State University's Fire Weather Research Laboratory and associate professor of meteorology and climate science.
To understand the history and context of wildfire suppression in the U.S., you have to go back to the Great Fires of 1910. After these enormous wildfires ravaged three million acres across Idaho, Montana and Washington, the then-young U.S. Forest Service made it their singular policy to stop fires whenever possible.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that policy shifted from fire control to fire management, with the recognition that some fire—including prescribed burns—is a necessary part of the wildland ecosystem. But decades of still-unburned forest means today’s wildlands are dense with vegetation that’s ready to spark. Drought conditions have only intensified the impending threat in many parts of the state. (See below for more on this.)
In a 2009 report, Chris Dicus, Ph.D., professor of wildland fire and fuels management at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, wrote that before the Gold Rush, there were approximately 50 to 70 trees per acre in California’s forestlands. Today, there are more than 400 trees per acre.
Another contributing factor to the growing forest fuel load is the increasing number of dead or dying trees caused by bark beetle infestations. These insects, along with the drought, are responsible for killing 129 million trees across California since 2010, quite literally adding fuel to the fire.
The sheer size of the current rash of fires would attest to a lot of uncleared growth, much of it damaged and dead from beetles. Nobody was allowed to clear that brush because ... ecology. Never mind that the natural state of California is to have small natural fires that groom the brush and help wildflowers take seed. Additionally, California's topography, as cited in the piece, can create some big weather patterns as well as fire tornados due to the slopes of the land. Nope, the greenies want California to resemble the forest-primeval of Wagnerian Germany, with lots of trees. To heck with the climate conditions that include a natural propensity for fires. Uncleared brush and dead trees mean bigger fires.
The second reason listed is 'climate change,' but wait: The scientists very specifically cite heat waves, which doesn't sound like the crazy hot-cold-wild phenomenon bruited about by the climate change lobby. It's perfectly true that the state has been having heat waves, and yes, the drying action of the heat tends to create tinder for fires. The heat waves come and the heat waves go. Because they're cyclical, they are not a constant factor supporting the claim that the entire earth's temperature is heating up. Instead, they are the result of high-pressure phenomena driving the temperature higher in localized places, which in this case happens to be California.
And where do these heatwaves come from? Well, solar activity is one candidate - the world is in a sunspot drought called a 'solar minimum' which, while it could create cooler temperatures, also leaves huge parts of the sun's atmosphere exposed, according to this U.K. Express article, citing more scientists. The jury is out about what the sunspots do, but there are credible sources that say they do contribute to rising temperatures.
High-pressure systems are another. According to HowItWorks.com:
A heatwave is a period of unusually hot or humid weather that lasts at least two or three days – and remaining hot throughout the nights – that affects large areas. Heatwaves are caused by a system of higher atmospheric pressure, whereby air from upper levels of the atmosphere descends and rotates out. As it descends, it compresses, increasing the temperature. The outward flow, meanwhile, makes it difficult for other systems to enter the area, and the large size and slow speed of the hot air causes the heatwave to remain for days or even weeks. The lack of clouds means that an affected area is struck with strong sunlight.
To attribute the entire global warming phenomena to a localized weather event in one place is kind of absurd.
The third reason cited by the Cal State fire scientists is human activity - leftist housing policies drive poorer people into the wilderness areas where fires are more likely to happen. The scientists say that 95% of fires are caused by people, either intentionally or unintentionally, so....
The proof of the pudding that California's fires are not caused by some vaguely defined global warming is the fact that these fires are only happening in places where bad greenie policy is the rule. California and its sidekicks Oregon and Washington are up to their necks in these fire-starter greenie policies.
You sure as heck don't see this stuff going on in Mexico, where there are some fires, but they rarely occur near populated areas and are fairly insignificant in scope. Brush is cleared in Mexico. Fire hazards are removed. Keep in mind that the weather and topography are about the same in Mexico as in California, except that Mexico is actually somewhat hotter.
To paraphrase Tom Wolfe, it seems as if the dark night of global warming, which hovers over the world, somehow only lands in California. The west coast governors who blame global warming for their states' ills would be smart to ask Mexico how to fix this. But they won't. They'll just keep blaming global warming and hope it leads to more taxes and more state power. To the rest of us, though, it's clear enough -- California's localized conditions are the perfect tinder for creating big, big, fires.
UPDATE: This article has been lightly edited since its original publication to clarify some ambiguous language.