Right on cue, CBS news 60 minutes is expected link the recent California fires to “global warming”. Never mind that the fire was caused by arson, or that the area hadn’t burned in 40-60 years, leading up to a collection of dry dead underbrush which is part of the natural fire cycle. Never mind that La Nina made for a dry couple of years exacerbating the problem. Never mind that we get fires in California about this time every year. No, its the “Age of Megafires”:
THE AGE OF MEGAFIRES – Global warming is increasing the intensity and number of forest fires across the American West. Scott Pelley goes to the fire line to report. David Gelber and Joel Bach are the producers. Watch a preview http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5285410n
UPDATE: WUWT reader Jason writes to tell us that this story is a rerun, and originally aired in 2007. See it here. I’ll bet the intro will mention the California fires though. They may have even “freshened up” the report a bit for the current situation.
I wonder if CBS borrowed the title from the Christian Science Monitor 2007 report?
Here is a top 20 report from CDF, note that they poo-poo 1932. Note also that there were quite a number of 100,00+ acre fires more than 10 years ago, directly contradicting the interview in the CBS trailer.
NYT was saying it is all getting worse back in 1996. Curiously though, you won’t find a single mention of “global warming” or “climate change” in that story. It was all about forest management issues:
But the recent methods used to control the growth of Western forests has also been blamed. In view of this summer’s debacle, debate is intensifying on how to better manage these forests.
Loggers correlate today’s wildfires with a Federally mandated cut in timber harvests from national forests, from a peak of 12 billion board feet a year in the 1980’s to about 4 billion this year.
But after World War II, a Smokey the Bear ethic took hold in the West, and total fire suppression became a national goal. Without regular low-level fires, Western forests grew dense, and massive amounts of fuel built up.
Today, when a Western forest ignites, it often explodes with a force unknown in earlier times. Racing from tree crown to tree crown, fires last longer and travel farther.
Scott Pelley is the same reporter that went to Antarctic in 2007 at the height of the melt season to tell us that “Antarctica is Melting”. They called that one the “The Age of Warming” Of course Scott never told his viewers that it was the peak melt season or that Antarctic ice is above normal.
And finally, never mind that 100 years ago, we didn’t have CNN or 60 minutes or “Action News” to regularly scare us to death with dramatic visual linkages. Back then, fire were just another part of the natural landscape.
From my perspective , we live in the “Age of MegaFUD“