Conservationists to blame for huge California fire, how does our risk stack up?

The most devastating fire in California’s history is still racing across Northern California.  The entire town of Paradise is destroyed leaving currently 79 people dead with hundreds of people missing.

Time and again conservationists blame global warming and human action but they are wrong. It is their misguided environmentalism which is really to blame for the California devastation.

Trump hit the nail on the head over the reason for the worst fire in California history.  Quote.

There is no reason for these massive and deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor… remedy now or no more Fed payments.

Trump is right. Mismanagement and over regulation deserve most of the blame, but he should keep in mind that the federal government owns 57% of California forest land.” End of quote.

Trump is now responsible for the 57% of federal owned Californian land but he sure as hell didn’t sign off on the mismanagement of federal forest over the last four decades.

Fire ecologists say that the best way to avoid massive forest fires is to carry out prescribed burns which are traditionally used to reduce wildlife hazards, clear downed trees, control plant disease, burn undergrowth, improve rangeland and wildlife habitats and restore natural ecosystems.

According to Californian Republican Representative Tom McClintock, for the last 45 years Californian forest management has been driven by environmentalists who have not only failed to protect the forest environment, they have done immeasurable harm to the forests. Quote.

Time and again we see vivid boundaries between the young, healthy, growing forests managed by state, local and private landholders, and the choked, dying and burned federal forests.

Another flaw in forest management is the reduction in timber removal.  In 1990 the spotted owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In response the Forest Service placed restrictions on timber harvests.  Additionally, President Bill Clinton introduced a rule that reduced the construction of new roads on 49 million acres of national forest.” End of quote.

This is a case of common sense being thrown out the window in pursuit of saving the spotted owl by preserving its habitat at the expense of good forest management.  Would conservationists like to have a stab at how many spotted owls have perished by their neglect of forestry fire management?

Lest we think we are immune from zealous conservationists wearing blinkers, has this government considered how they will manage the fire risk of the one billion trees they expect to plant?

Tim Curran at Lincoln University has been researching the fire risk of the one billion trees and our changing weather patterns. Quote.

The number of days where the risk of fire is classed as very high or extreme are [sic]expected to increase by 71 percent in New Zealand by 2040.

It’s not just lives and livelihoods at stake if plantations go up in smoke. A key driver of the One Billion Trees programme is carbon sequestration. Burning trees become a carbon source instead of a carbon sink.

Here in New Zealand the predictions for climate change are things like hotter temperatures, less rainfall, more drought, lower humidity and windier conditions in many parts of the country, particularly the eastern parts of both islands.

“Put very simply, if you’ve got hotter temperatures, if you’ve got windier conditions, if you’ve got drier conditions all of those things are going to make for a better fire. Your fuel is going to burn more extensively, it’s going to burn hotter, you’re going to get more extreme fires.” End of quote.

We are certainly not out of the woods (sorry) on the subject of extreme fires and the types of trees likely to be planted under the One Billion Trees scheme.  Curran says some trees are particularly flammable. Quote.

Mānuka is highly flammable and it’s a scrub fuel type. Obviously, a fire would spread and burn pretty rigorously in that environment.”

Rasmussen said very few fires are started by non-human related causes such as lightning.

“Virtually all of the fires are caused by humans. If we can put a lot of effort into education and fire prevention then that’s probably going to be a pretty effective way of dealing with the issue.” End of quote.

Our Fire Service puts out excellent guidelines on creating fire breaks, pruning, weeding and removing rubbish and flammable scrub while keeping access ways into forestry clear for firefighters.  If we continue to prioritise safety in forests and beware of conservationists running amok, we should avoid the super fire that is crippling California.


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