Destructive forest fires are due to – WHAT?

Climate change is all-purpose excuse for Big Green and federal misfeasance and malfeasance

First the Obama EPA came for coal mines, coal-fired power plants, miners, workers, investors, and all who depend on reliable, affordable electricity. Then the EPA, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and other agencies came after oil and gas drilling and fracking, and the workers, industries, and families that need petroleum. They’re also targeting farming, ranching, airlines, and manufacturing.

It’s all to stop “dangerous manmade climate change,” rising seas, warmer and colder weather, wetter and drier seasons, and other “unprecedented” calamities. Now the Feds want us to believe worsening forest fires threaten communities, wildlife, and wildlife habitats because we burn fossil fuels.

Thousands of fires have already torched millions of acres, amid yet forestfire3another dangerous and costly fire season. It happens every year, and has for centuries. But now, the Department of the Interior misinforms us, “climate change is making it worse. Wildfire seasons are now hotter, drier and longer than in the past.” Sure they are. Wanna buy a bridge?

I lived out West for a decade, back in the 1970s, and saw wildfires and dozens of burned-over forests. I hiked, camped, and skied during extra wet and ultra dry years. During a flight from Denver to Seattle, I watched multiple fires rage across tens of thousands of acres in four states.

thintreesI’m in Whitefish, Montana, this week, where hundreds of trees are just a few inches in diameter, packed in clusters of a half dozen or more, inches from one another – perfect kindling for vicious wildfires. Over time, most will get crowded out and die, leaving just a few hardy specimens to grow into hefty 50- to 100-foot beauties – assuming they are not engulfed in a super-heated inferno first.

Vast stands of densely packed, water- and nutrient-starved trees – skinny matchsticks waiting for a spark – are far too common in our Western states, because land mis-managers refuse to thin the trees.

The resulting fires are not the “forest-rejuvenating” blazes of environmentalist lore. They are cauldron-hot conflagrations that exterminate wildlife habitats, roast bald eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, boil away trout and trout streams, leave surviving animals to starve, and incinerate every living organism in already thin soils … that then get washed away during future downpours and snowmelts. Areas incinerated by such fires don’t recover their arboreal biodiversity for decades.

Homes in and near the forests become ashes, chimneys, and burningdownthehousememories. Residents die in their homes or trying to flee the infernos. Firefighters perish trying to extinguish them.

The fires can certainly be far worse in drought years. But droughts are nothing new, either. We all recall the seven-year drought that brought Joseph to prominence in pharaoh’s Egypt, and the eight-year-long Dust Bowl during the 1930s. Historians describe a 50-year “water famine” that drove Anasazis out of the American Southwest, the 200-year drought that ended Mayan civilization, and other parched periods in China, Africa, Mesopotamia, and other regions.

In short, whatever “hotter, drier, longer” forest fires we are witnessing today have nothing to do with fossil fuels, plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, or “dangerous manmade climate change.” They have a lot to do with incompetent forest mismanagement policies and practices.

Far too many environmentalists, bureaucrats, politicians, and judges would rather let forests burn than let anyone selectively cut timber, thin out overgrown trees – or even let loggers harvest usable timber left from beetle kills, devastating fires, or volcanic explosions like Mount St. Helens. (Do you suppose they’d alter their policies if loggers promised to use chain saws powered by little wind turbines or solar panels?)

Eco-purists want no cutting, no thinning – no using fire retardants in “sensitive” areas because the chemicals might get into streams that will be boiled away by conflagrations. They prevent homeowners from clearing brush around their homes, because it might provide cover or habitat for endangered species and other critters that will get incinerated or lose their forage, prey, and habitats in the next blaze. They rarely alter their policies during drought years.

The Obama Administration spends billions of dollars annually on manmade global warming “research,” billions more on renewable energy boondoggles for crony corporatist campaign contributors, billions more to convert more private land to federal control. But it never seems to have enough money for expanded or modernized fire control.

Meanwhile, the Administration is gearing up to plant thousands of wind turbines across these areas, to slice and dice whatever raptors and other birds aren’t obliterated by fires.

In line with environmentalist ideology and Democratic Party ideals, it’s also expanding efforts to eliminate the last vestiges of drilling, mining, timber harvesting, ranching, farming and property inholdings (private lands allowed to remain within subsequently designated parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas) on government-controlled lands in America’s western states and Alaska. Many call it cultural cleansing, to create private recreational domains for the rich and famous.

The Feds have guidelines that say fires in certain areas can be extinguished if they are of human origin (arson or untended campfires, e.g.) – but must be allowed to burn if they are “natural” (caused by lightning, for example). One must take it on faith that “experts” can make that distinction in the midst of an inferno, and pray that small fires won’t become raging infernos. The Federales even have jurisdictional policies that can prevent aircraft from dropping water on a fire, if the crew cannot tell whether the blaze is on Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service land.

FireIceA relatively new product called FireIce smothers fires, by taking heat and oxygen away from combustible materials. Dropped directly onto a fire from airplanes, it penetrates through smoke, fire, and treetops down to burning timber and trees and brush in a fire’s path. It can also be carried to blazes in standard fire and tanker trucks, or blended on location using dry FireIce powder and on-site water. Homeowners can brew up their own batches, adding water to the dry chemical, and use the concoction to coat their houses, shrubs, and other property – protecting them against onrushing flames.

Unfortunately, state and federal officials have employed this highly effective fire killer only sporadically. The results are predictable, as recounted above.

The Justice Department has prosecuted farmers and ranchers for trying to protect their property from current or potential fires, by starting “controlled burns” or “backfires” that got out of control and burned a few hundred acres of U.S. forest. But when intentional Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service fires in Oregon or South Dakota got out of control and burned thousands of acres of U.S. and private forestland, forage, and livestock, no repercussions, prosecutions, or compensation were forthcoming.

As to the Interior Department’s convenient claim that today’s forest fires are due to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, let’s not forget that rapidly developing countries are emitting increasing amounts of carbon dioxide every year – numerous times what the U.S. can possibly eliminate – and there is still no Real World evidence that humans have replaced powerful natural forces in climate change.

It’s time to give America’s forest management and fire control policies a thorough review and revision, before we lose more habitats, wildlife, homes, and human lives. And while we’re at it, let’s end this insane obsession with manmade climate Armageddon.

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • Immortal600

    One day in the future, man-made climate change will be accepted as the scam it is. People will laugh at those that believed in the garbage.

    • J T

      Well then Dano will be the butt of many-a-homosexual joke, neh?

  • Dano2
  • nobody givesacrap

    I have a big problem with this article. I want to know why Mr. Driessen has written a scholarly article that has an extremely well written elevator pitch for a public company’s chemical, FireIce, in the middle of this otherwise scholarly article. What is his agenda? Is he an investor?

    With very little effort I found a July 23, 2012 column by Mr. Driessen – half the column is about GelTech and its chemical FireIce. It touts FireIce’s performance and notes the product is non-toxic, non-corrosive and environment-friendly. Mr. Driessen probably should have looked at the MSDS – file:///C:/Users/jack/Downloads/FireIce%20HVO-F%20SDS%20(US)%202-19-16%20(3).pdf

    There are many water enhancing gels on the market and he could have not used any company names and just mentioned them as a category of wildland fire chemicals.

    Mr. Driessen seems to want a public outcry at the fact that his chosen “highly
    effective fire killer” is only used sporadically. FireIce is only used sporadically due to the Politics of Wildland Firefighting and by simply asking the owners of FireIce, Mr. Driessen would have found this out.

    FireIce is late to the USFS approved chemical list. ICL Performance Products gets
    just over 99.9% of all Federal wildland fire chemical business. In California ICL get 100% of all the wildland fire chemical business on a sole source mandatory use contract.

    Maybe Mr. Driessen would like to investigate the politics of wildland firefighting and how a company is able to get the USFS to change the specification of retardant to match that company’s patent.

    • Brin Jenkins

      Interesting device. Never heard of it before thanks fo telling us. If there is a dispute over intellectual property that’s a shame, we know patents are stolen by Government and re mapped by big business but how is cfact involved in wrong doing?

    • J T

      Speak your point, with (much) fewer words.

      • doldrums1

        Mr. Driessen has been promoting GelTech Solutions since
        2012. GelTech is a public company. How much stock does Mr. Driessen own?

        • AndRebecca

          Maybe he owns the entire company. If so, why isn’t he for the global warming bull?

    • Li D

      Splutter! ” scholarly “???.
      Its a bloody rant. Its abysmal.

      Good pickup on the promotion of a specific brand instead of generic fire fighting additives.

  • ptsstaff

    A decade after AB32 was signed into law, according to the California Energy Commission we still contribute a miniscule 1 percent ( 1%). The cap &trade program that hits the motorists’ pocketbooks and has had little to no impact on the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    The environmental crusaders are also unaware that wind and solar are only able to provide intermittent electricity to the grid, but cannot provide the oil or the oil by-products that are the basis of every component of modern civilizations’ industries and infrastructures.

    Maybe it’s karma that the cash cow of the cap & trade “fees” may be dying, as CARB avoids the transparency that the program has done little in 10 years to reduce California’s 1% contribution to the World’s Green House gases.

    In 2015, Britain’s energy and climate change secretary AmberRudd set priority to ensure energy bills for hard working families and businesses to be kept as low as possible, announced sweeping CUTS to renewable energy subsidies.

    In Australia, after almost a decade of heated political debate, became the world’s first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions. In 2015, Australian voters turned against climate laws, blaming them for lost jobs, rising energy bills, higher production costs, and living costs. J.P. Morgan, estimated the removal of the carbon tax would boost its valuation on several companies as much as 6%.

    California’s flagship climate change policy Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Initiative was signed into law in 2006 when California was contributing 1% to the worlds green hose gases. And now, 10 years later, by AVOIDING transparency of the results of the California emissions crusade, the state can focus on how to spend the cap and trade funds they receive.

    Yet, the state, by avoiding transparency of the results of the California emissions crusade remains on ago-it-alone crusade to micro manage the California emissions that generates billions of dollars for the government at the expense of businesses and the financially challenged. With numerous state government agencies there is a feeding frenzy on getting a piece of the lucrative cap and trade tax revenue.

    The public, especially the homeless and poor that are paying dearly for the emissions crusade efforts of the AQMD deserves to know if there is any progress over the last decade in reducing California’s 1% contribution to the world’s greenhouse gases.

  • Ruth Bard

    So if lightning strikes the White House and starts a fire, they’ll just let it burn? An excellent policy, to be sure.

    • J T

      Yes, surely.

    • KLH6

      Except it’s our house paid for by us. Besides they’ll get Obama out first.

  • Just my gut feel … but it appears that the increased number and size of fires could be correlated with an ideology that is trying to drain the economic resources of this county in every way possible. SAVE THE OWL, Stop deforestation, Climate control (a proven farce)

    In elementary and high school I remember lectures from rangers who told us the benefits of lumber companies that cleared huge swathes of lumber (for our lumber mills … today they import too much lumber and we export less) between large acreages to have the capability to contain forest fires if they happened in one of the areas. They explained that they often sett a back fire from the perimeter of the acreage already out of control so the roaring fire would not jump those cleared paths.

  • Outlaw the profiteering and trading of carbon tax credits and climate change will go away. Search who own the trading exchange and rights … Gore and One World Leaders…

  • cuzLorne

    The best thing that will come the AGW Climate Scare is cleaner air, water and soil.

    Maybe the mercury in smoke from Coal-fired electricity is causing the North American plague of dementia. In Ontario, the government predicted that it would save them C$3B /yr in Medicare costs.

    Then they raised our hydro rates by refurbishing the failing Nuclear plants which generate 60% of our electricity.
    Then they hid those over-budget costs in the Wind & Solar rates, so we won’t ever know how expensive Nuclear really is.

    Aren’t governments wonderful?

  • Christine Dargis Laramee

    All man made climate change is, is an excuse for the extremists to set wild fires to prove their point…They are the crooks and should be thrown in jail!!!!

    • Frederick Colbourne

      “…an excuse for the extremists to set wild fires…”

      A friend once corrected me, saying that I was wrong to attribute intent when carelessness and incompetence alone can explain what people do or don’t do..

      I though about that and came to believe that this is more true about bureaucrats, officials and politicians than about private persons.

  • ONLYJB1

    Great article. Until you survive with the sale of trees, you have no idea. Timber management is a full time job. If govt. regulations restrict managing a stand of timber then the govt. is WRONG!! You have to select cut every 5 to 8 years depending on the amount of rainfall. This produces new growth and bigger growth. Wait, now I see the problem, our govt. has no idea how to grow anything!

    • Duane L Petersen

      They know how to grow one thing DEBT

  • J T

    Blow ’em, Dano………….well, you know.

  • Frederick Colbourne

    Yes, and what is more, all of this is taught in first year Earth science courses. Western forests are “fire-climax” forests.

    As for mismanagement of Federal lands by Federal bureaucrats, have a look at Michael Crichton’s lecture on Youtube.

    The whole lecture is interesting, but to appreciated his claim about the mismanagement of Yellowstone National Park, start viewing at 35:50.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDCCvOv3qZY

  • Boris Badinov

    GREAT article, Paul! ALL of the catastrophic fires of the past 15 to 20 years are the fault of the policies of the greenie extremists who have infested our land management agencies. They are responsible, too, for the deaths of a growing number of firefighters who have died combating the fires that have resulted from this disastrous mismanagement.

    • Dano2

      What about all the fires in forests that weren’t mismanaged? Are them thar greeny at fault too?

      Best.

      D

      • moberndorf

        And just what forests would those be?

        • Dano2

          Forests with a Fire Return Interval over, say, a century and the boreal forest, for a start.

          Best,

          D

          • moberndorf

            Nonsense. Leftist crap. Trying to distract from the facts Paul put forth.

            • Dano2

              the facts Paul put forth.

              Facts are facts. You don’t get your own facts. As I showed.

              Best

              D

      • VooDude

        What of them, Dano?
        ”…many consider wildfire as an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived overall trends. Instead, global area burned appears to have, overall, declined over past decades, and there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago.”

        ”Regarding fire severity, … little change overall, … area burned at high severity has, overall, declined…”

        ”… global biomass burning during the past century has been lower than at any time in the past 2000 years.”

        ”… the general perception of increasing fire around the world is not supported by the data available to date … Indeed, there is increasing evidence, suggesting that there is, overall, less fire in the landscape today, than there has been centuries ago…”

        Doerr, Stefan H., and Cristina Santín 2016. “Global trends in wildfire and its impacts: perceptions versus realities in a changing world.” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B

        http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/371/1696/20150345.abstract

        Yang 2014: The study noted a world-wide, century-long history of ever-decreasing global burned area.

        “…we developed a 0.5° × 0.5° data set of global burned area from 1901 to 2007 …”

        “…a notable declining rate of burned area globally (1.28 × 10^4 km/yr).

        Yang, Jia, et al. 2014 “Spatial and temporal patterns of global burned area in response to anthropogenic and environmental factors: Reconstructing global fire history for the 20th and early 21st centuries.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

        http://apollo.eas.gatech.edu/yhw/publications/Yang_etal_2014.pdf

        “Although an increasing frequency of forest fires has been suggested as a consequence of global warming, there are no empirical data that have shown a climatically driven change in fire frequency since the warming that has followed the end of the ‘Little Ice Age’. We present here evidence from fire and tree-ring chronologies that the post-‘Little Ice Age’ climate change has profoundly decreased the frequency of fires in the northwestern Québec boreal forest. A 300-year fire history (AD 1688-1988) from the Lake Duparquet area (48°28′ N, 79°17′ W) shows an important decrease, starting 100 years ago, in the number and the extent of fires. … The contradictory results between predicted and observed effects of warming on fire frequency call into question our present capability to generalize the effect of increasing CO2 levels on fire frequency.”

        Bergeron, Yves, and Sylvain Archambault 1993. “Decreasing frequency of forest fires in the southern boreal zone of Quebec and its relation to global warming since the end of the’Little Ice Age’.” The Holocene

        http://hol.sagepub.com/content/3/3/255

  • jameshrust

    The media has been claiming wildfires for 2016 are everywhere and due to global warming caused by burning fossil fuels. Wildfires for 2016 are considerably below the national average up to this time based on data published by the National Interagency Fire Center. The data is found at:

    Year-to-date statistics2016 (1/1/16 – 7/29/16)Fires: 33,035Acres: 3,231,6732015 (1/1/15 – 7/29/15)Fires: 35,992Acres: 5,701,6332014 (1/1/14 – 7/29/14)Fires: 32,414Acres: 1,618,8822013 (1/1/13 – 7/29/13)Fires: 27,464Acres: 2,283,5972012 (1/1/12 – 7/29/12)Fires: 36,882Acres: 4,060,0022011 (1/1/11 – 7/29/11)Fires: 43,956Acres: 6,052,3662010 (1/1/10 – 7/29/10)Fires: 36,826Acres: 1,978,5372009 (1/1/09 – 7/29/09)Fires: 56,356Acres: 3,376,5792008 (1/1/08 – 7/29/08)Fires: 53,342Acres: 3,551,2502007 (1/1/07 – 7/29/07)Fires: 56,877Acres: 4,920,2602006 (1/1/06 – 7/29/06)Fires: 70,215Acres: 5,374,600Annual average prior 10 years2006-2015Fires: 44,577Acres: 3,824,747James H. Rust, professor of nuclear engineering

  • AllenBarclayAllen

    Thanks Paul ! I’ve been fighting this insanity against proper forest management too ! This is United nations Agenda 21 bullcrap ! Global Warming crap the stoping of Norman burn offs in wet season and firebrake barrier building !
    Why ? Because burning under brush in wet season will bother that asthmatic patient that’s living in a completely sealed air-conditioned room across town !
    It is incredible insanity ! If they have asthma that bad they already living in a controlled environment of HEPA filtered air !
    Normal forestry bothering less than one tenth of one percent of the population ???
    Well when that under brush reaches mid point tree hight ,because of no forestry practices , the eventual fire will catch the intire tree on fire and now all us normal non asthmatic people are having a breathing problem !
    Insanity a forest fire now because of some old bitching coot that lives in a HEPA filtered air conditioned room everyone has to suffer with the smoke of a preventable forest fire ! Write your congressmen and demand that real forestry practices be put back in place and put a stop to this insanity of the United nations that should have no business making dessions in our Democratic society ! England did !
    And if you land owners do have a forest fire from the EPA and other federal agencies stoping common sence forestry SEW THE HELL out of them CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT and your state government for listening to these assholes !

  • Li D

    Wow.
    Paul Driessen, next time you want to
    write about bushfire, how about you
    do it seriously. The subject deserves nothing less.
    Not hyperbole, not conflating, not giving a particular dimension a couple of sentences before moving onto the next thing.
    Not that windmills for example are even a dimension here.
    Stick to the matter at hand man!
    This shit reads like a grade 7 bit of writing. Its not studied. Not mature.
    Its almost nearly a sort of inarticulate rant.
    Again, the subject deserves a better treatment.
    If you consider yourself a serious writer and have a genuine interest in this topic, maybe could you try again
    in a couple months with something for adults to read.
    Im willing, i want to, read differing perspectives. But written for big kids eh!
    If an Australian journo put out this STYLE of writing they would get hammered by their peers, no matter
    how accurate or inaccurate info was.
    Stop bloody ranting. Share concise clear honest information from several sources.
    Dont even put your spin on it.
    The story, the subject, is not YOUR take on it.
    Savvy?

    Everyone please take care and listen to your local fire authorities advice
    on preparation for bushfire if your home or business or farm is likely to be threatened.
    Li D
    Australia.

    • AndRebecca

      Paul writes way better than you ever will, as evidenced in your rant.

  • For My Liberty

    That’s all a fact…..also about the Government not wanting Farms…Was told that by a Gov IRS agent when we went through an Audit …after the IRS said our Farm….isn’t a Farm….