California, Oregon, and Washington have been aflame for weeks now, and Governor Newsom of California has identified the culprit: global warming.
But he’s wrong - dead wrong - and as long as he thinks he’s right, he won’t do the things that are necessary to prevent more of his people, their homes, and their towns from being incinerated.
The problem is not the climate. It’s horrible, no good, very bad forest management. Decades and decades of neglect have allowed a catastrophic fuel load to build up on the forest floor. Allowing cattle to graze on forest land would take care of a lot of that, but alas, even that is not permitted. Consequently forests go up like Roman candles when dry lightning hits. Too many bug-eaten trees growing too close together, their crowns interlacing, is a recipe for Chernobyl-like conflagrations.
The Pacific Northwest, as I write these words, has the worst air quality in the world because of these fires. The EPA has an Air Quality Index. A rating above 300 indicates the entire population in an area is likely to be affected and an emergency health warning is triggered. On Monday, numerous areas in the Pacific Northwest recorded index levels of over 500. Chelan, Wash., west of Seattle had fine particle levels measured at 510.
California forests today feature 150 million dead trees, perfect kindling for raging, out-of-control infernos that consume everything in their path. This has happened because harvesting of trees has been banned like it was an indoor church in Newsom’s California.
Sue Kuehl Pederson is running for Commissioner of Public Lands in the state of Washington, which has been hit nearly as hard as California. She points out that not so long ago, when logging was still a thing, “timber companies and landowners would harvest and replant. When they replanted trees in our forests, they would space them apart in such a way that those trees would grow up and be the right spacing for the harvest, which was usually around 30-40 years.”
We are not running out of trees and won’t for hundreds of years, if ever. Oregon alone has enough trees to rebuild every home in America. If we do forestry right, we’ll be harvesting trees and building new homes until Christ returns. Trees are the ultimate renewable resource.
And it is certainly not because we didn’t know any better. According to a 1999 Associated Press article, forestry experts had long agreed that “clearing undergrowth would save trees,” and that “years of aggressive firefighting (i.e., aggressive fire suppression even against controlled burns) have allowed brush to flourish that would have been cleared away by wildfires.” Native Americans, in fact, practiced controlled burns for hundreds of years before Europeans showed up to manage forests.
According to the Napa Valley Register in 2002, Sen. Diane Feinstein, a certified arch-liberal Democrat, brokered a deal on legislation to thin “overstocked” forests close to homes and communities but was blocked by mindless, heedless environmental zealots.
The U.S. Forest Service used to make money for the American taxpayer, but 40 years ago, according to Rep. Tom McClintock, sound forest management practices were ditched in favor of a policy of “benign neglect.”
Overgrown forests even reduce the water supply, as dense underbrush soaks up precipitation and runoff before it reaches underground aquifers and reservoirs. And when the rainy season comes, because the forests have burned to the ground, erosion will send sediment and debris flooding into streams and rivers.
The firefighters unions have a perverse incentive to keep forests on the brink. According to Steve Greenhut, writing in the Orange County Register, “The median compensation package for firefighters has topped $240,000 a year in some locales .... The number of firefighters who receive compensation packages above $500,000 a year is mind-blowing.”
As Edward Ring wrote, “These (green) zealots have not protected the forests. They have destroyed them.”
According to Genesis 1, God gave man authority over all the earth – including forest lands – to steward it, to work it (literally to “serve” it), to take care of it, and to manage it for human benefit. “Benign neglect” is unbiblical, unscientific, irrational, and destructive to human life and property.
Governor Newsom, global warming is not to blame for your catastrophic fires. You are.
The author may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org