Forest fires discovered during the cold climate of the last ice-age

Forest fires are not limited to hot or temperate climates

A joint Canada-France study shows that there were wildfires in the Alps during an ice age 20,000 years ago

UNIVERSITY OF MONTREAL

Forest fires and wildland fires are common in summer in the temperate boreal forest, rarer at high altitudes, and unheard of in an ice age at high altitudes – until now. Evidence of wildfires dating back 20,000 years was recently discovered in the Massif du Queyras, in the heart of the French Alps, 2,240 metres above sea level. The news comes in a joint Canada-France study published in New Phytologist and co-authored by Olivier Blarquez, a geography professor at Université de Montréal, and Christopher Carcaillet, a professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, in Paris, and at the Laboratoire d’écologie des hydrosystèmes naturels et anthropisés (CNRS/Université Lyon 1/ENTPE).

“This discovery is not trivial,” said Blarquez. “It echoes the recent wildfires in the Arctic tundra, where [the presence of] trees have become increasingly common. The situation has drawn the attention of the scientific community because of its significant impact on the [Earth’s] carbon cycle. Changes in high mountain forest cover due to global warming, and especially the abandonment of agricultural land, risk exacerbating the spread of wildfires in the coming years.”

In their study, Blarquez and Carcaillet reconstruct wildland fire frequency and forest composition over the past 20,000 years, including the Last Glacial Maximum, when ice sheets were at their greatest extension. The researchers’ findings suggest there was a tree glacial refugium during this period, when wildfires were able to break out. The authors also consider the complex long-term interactions between fires, vegetation and climate.

“Wildfires spread when fuel is available and the climate is dry,” said Carcaillet, who is also co-director of the Laboratoire international associé franco-canadien MONTABOR.

“It is therefore counterintuitive to imagine wildland fires in periglacial, subpolar or mountain areas. And yet [the discovery of] high mountain lacustrine sediments revealed just that. Wildfires were indeed rare, but the presence of wood charcoal confirmed that they did occur, even during glacial and postglacial periods.”

High mountain wildfires: Swiss stone pines, larches among the causes

Wildfires occurred in the Massif du Queyras, situated between France and Italy, because the trees survived the ice age. Evidence of their existence has been found in macro-remains such as leaves and seeds. However, a second area located further north, in the Massif de la Vanoise (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) where sediment accumulated during the Last Glacial Maximum, shows no trace of vegetation. No evidence of wildfires was found in this area, because without vegetation to burn, fire couldn’t spread.

In the Queyras, Swiss stone pines and larches formed an isolated tree glacial refugium, “like an island in the middle of an ocean of ice,” according to the study. Protected during the Last Glacial Maximum, these trees could be the genetic ancestors of the Swiss stone pines and larches that still grow in the valleys of the Western Alps. As the dominant forest cover changed, fires began to happen. In the early Holocene Epoch (about 10,700 years ago), the climate became warmer and more humid; the Swiss stone pine, dominant in areas with low fire frequencies during the ice age (when the climate was cold and dry), was replaced by the larch, which coincided with increased fire frequencies.

“This study demonstrates that a periglacial climate does not preclude wildfires,” said Carcaillet. “Trees – in this case, Swiss stone pines – are necessary for fires to burn in high mountains. The climate affects the frequency of fires, and in return, fires affect tree diversity.”

###

The study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.14721/abstract;jsessionid=F3014102E3BED04D8EEF12038B9681B4.f02t03

Fire ecology of a tree glacial refugium on a nunatak with a view on Alpine glaciers

Summary

  • In paleoecology, the function of biomass as a fire driver has become a focus of attention in cold ecosystems, and concerns have been raised about climate in this context. Little is known about the fire frequency and fire–plant relationships during glaciation when woodlands were limited and the climate was cold.
  • Fire history and tree biomass were reconstructed from sedimentary charcoal and macroremains, respectively, archived in lake sediments from the western Alps. Two nunataks were investigated, both with lacustrine sediments covering the last 21 000 yr at least.
  • During the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the Lateglacial, fires occurred only on the nunatak sheltering woody plants. Cembra pine (Pinus cembra) and larch (Larix decidua) survived above glaciers during the LGM, thus evidencing a biological refugium and supporting the nunatak theory.
  • We highlighted a long-term relationship between fires and dominant trees over the last 21 000 yr, where fire frequencies track the global climate and the local changes in tree biomass. Glacial climate (dry, cold) does not rule out fires. Fuel load and composition were significant fire drivers, with cembra pine dominating during colder periods with rare fires, and larch during the warmer Holocene with frequent fires. These findings increase knowledge of fire ecology in cold environments, and open perspectives in tree population genetics by considering new areas of tree glacial refugia in Europe.
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76 thoughts on “Forest fires discovered during the cold climate of the last ice-age

  1. This study must be bogus after all “crackers345” clearly stated, without a single shred of supportable evidence, in another thread that…

    “FFs -> droughts (like OR) -> bigger fires”

    The use of FFs more than 20,000 years ago lead to fires, even when the climate was cold.

    • Tell crackers345 to spend a little reading up on the Peshtigo firestorm. Wasn’t caused by drought. It was caused by sloppy lumberjacks not putting out their trash-burning fires and a weather system that enabled the spread of a fuel-hungry fire. 1.2 million acres of forest gone in the blink of an eye and up to 2,500 people dead because they could not escape. The Chicago Fire started the next day, also a firestorm.
      Also, tell him he is an ignorant twit.

  2. I’m watching the “science fiction” show “2 Degrees. The point of no return” on the History Channel. The scare tactics they’re using are the usual hyped up opinions without any facts to varify them.

  3. Am I missing something? Why is this a “discovery”?

    Can a lightning storm not happen in the mountains…?

    • Fire helps giant sequoias in many ways. Small, green cones full of seeds awaiting germination grow near the crown of the trees, yet without fire or insects to crack open the cone, the seeds remain trapped inside. Green cones can live with viable seeds inside them for up to twenty years. Fire dries out the cones, enabling them to crack open and deposit their seeds on the forest floor.

      • Thanks Neo. My question was directed more at the “discovery” that fire happens, not the good it does.

        I’m wondering why the researchers were surprised to find what they did.

  4. Forest fires have been part of the Australian environment for a long time as certain varieties and species of eucalyptus and banksias seeds require the heat of fires to germinate.

    • A few species of conifers also require the heat of fires before the seeds are released from the cones.

  5. Wild fires will become increasingly prevalent as a result of AGW, no doubt about it. Combine this with global deforestation and it is a man-made disaster recipe.

    My sister-in-law lives in Seattle with her young family and most if the summer tge air was filled with smog from wildfires and causing respitory problems for the very young and old.

    More of this to come if global temperatures exceed 2 degree Ceksius limit.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/smoky-haze-settles-in-seattle-area-as-wildfires-rage-in-washington-oregon/

    • I’m sure your sister-in-law voted for the “green” politicians that suppressed all normal fire activity – while destroying the logging industry that would have also cleared out the excessive fuel supplies.

      She is paying for her ignorance now, isn’t she? It is sad that her children are, too. Doesn’t look like she’ll learn any better, either, so long as she listens to her equally ignorant brother-in-law.

      • If you are going to make wildly generalised claims such as ‘destroying the logging industry’ , give some supporting evidence for this. Generally, it is the norm to create fire breaks (as they do here where I live in Poland).

      • Hello? I made no assertions about the situation in Poland? Mainly because I freely admit to having no notion about what the Polish government or industry do to manage their forests.

        The way in which the Pacific Northwest mismanages their forests – or the way in which the United States Federal government mismanages the forests under their supposed control (actually, under the control of the Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace, etc.) – I apparently have far more knowledge of than you.

      • Ok, I am not disputing your knowledge ref. the Pacific Northwest. But you talk about ‘Greens’ destroying the logging industry and forestry mismanagement. If you make such statements then you should give supporting evidence.

      • Well. I was going to pen quite a lengthy reply. Anthony occasionally allows me to indulge my inherent laziness, though. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/09/17/finally-some-commonsense-western-fire-policies/
        I would add, though, that I have driven through, and seen through other people’s pictures, the places where the government “managed” forests come up to the line where the local First American Reservations actually do what Mr. Driessen advocates – and seen the black wasteland on the government side where their “controlled” burns got out of hand, then looked across the line at the healthy forest on the Reservation side. A very straight line, exactly on the border that Greens cannot cross (at least with their insane ideology).

      • Hello Paul,
        I read your article with interest and generally agree with you that better forestry management is required – that includes sustainable logging – in order to better control of wild fire outbreaks.

        However, I was rather disappointed when you suddently diverged onto the topic of climate change, rabid greens etc., when you started to lose the artlcle’s objectivity. To quote:

        “Rabid greens ignore these hard realities – and divert discussions back to their favorite ideological talking points. The problem isn’t too many trees, they insist. It’s global warming and climate change. That’s why western states are having droughts, long fire seasons, and high winds that send flames past fire breaks.

        Global warming, global cooling and climate change have been part of the Earth and human experience from time immemorial. Natural climate fluctuations brought the multi-decade Anasazi drought, the Dust Bowl and other dry spells to our western states. To suggest that this summer’s heat and drought are somehow due to mankind’s fossil fuel use and related emissions is deliberately delusional nonsense.

        Neither these activists nor anyone in Al Gore’s climate chaos consortium can demonstrate or calibrate a human connection to droughts or fires. Rants, rhetoric and CO2-driven computer models do not suffice. And even if manmade (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide does play a role amid the powerful natural forces that have always controlled climate and weather, reducing US fossil fuel use would have zero effect.

        China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam alone are building 590 new coal-fired power plants right now, on top of the hundreds they have constructed over the past decade. Overall, more than 1,600 new coal generators are planned or under construction in 62 countries. People in developing countries are also driving far more vehicles and making great strides in improving their health and living standards. They will not stop.

        Western conflagrations jump fire breaks because these ferocious fires are fueled by the unprecedented increase in combustibles that radical green policies have created. These monstrous fires generate their own high winds and even mini tornados that carry burning branches high into the air, to be deposited hundreds of feet away, where they ignite new fires. It has nothing to do with climate change.”

        As I have proven in the links, there is a link between AGW and an increasing number of wild fires. I agree to the factors you have quoted (e.g. too densely packed stands, too much brush etc), but vehemently disagree that this can completely be ignored, related as I am sure you are aware to higher atmospheric temperatures and increased soil mositure evaporation.

    • “ivankinsman September 15, 2017 at 11:30 pm
      Wild fires will become increasingly prevalent as a result of AGW, no doubt about it. Combine this with global deforestation and it is a man-made disaster recipe.”

      A declaration you make from the other side of the world?

      Utter BS.

      What “global deforestation”?
      Forests are healthy and thriving here in North America as they are in most of the world.
      Except in third world countries where the poor use them as fuel for heating and cooking and in locations where greedy green companies are bulldozing forests to plant “oil” crops.

      blockquote> “ivankinsman September 15, 2017 at 11:30 pm
      My sister-in-law lives in Seattle with her young family and most if the summer tge air was filled with smog from wildfires and causing respitory problems for the very young and old.”

      You mean the same burned forest burns every year, all year?
      Based on pure anecdotal back fence rumors.

      More utter BS.

      Wild fires are normal. Quite a few of the famous Western American conifers only reseed during forest fires; e.g. Sequoia and Redwoods.
      No forest fires, no sequoia or redwood trees.

      Other forest trees benefit from fires; e.g. sugar pines benefit from small quick growing competing plants getting burned during a forest fire.

      blockquote> “ivankinsman September 15, 2017 at 11:30 pm
      More of this to come if global temperatures exceed 2 degree Ceksius limit.

      http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/smoky-haze-settles-in-seattle-area-as-wildfires-rage-in-washington-oregon/

      Again, utter BS!

      Every day incurs temperature changes over a large scale; seasonally and annually that range is much greater. 2°C being some sort of “tipping point” is proof that science is not used in the climate consensus and climate religion.

      The sole reason for the 2°C “tipping point” claim is to instill fear amongst the easily deluded and scammed donation sources.

      There is zero real scientific evidence establishing a “tipping point” or any catastrophe arising from increased temperatures.

      Not to overlook NOAA and MetO have “adjusted” historical temperatures in order to achieve their current 0.6° anomaly increase since the 1800s.

      • I spend a lot of time debating with climate sceptics on this site, and I am going to have to put you in the category of one who knows something about what they are talking about but needs their eyes opening.

        Here is some supporting evidence of the wild fire/climate change link:

        General:

        http://www.dw.com/en/how-climate-change-is-increasing-forest-fires-around-the-world/a-19465490

        Scientific:

        http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/forests#statement-16387

        I admit your point about deforestation in North America and Europe, but I am referring more to deforestation around the globe, which is still occurring but fortunately slowing down as more countries are increasingly aware of its negative impact:

        http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/326911/icode/

        Why is deforestation linked to climate change? A quick overview here:

        http://www.climateandweather.net/global-warming/deforestation.html

        As for your comments on the 2°C “tipping point”, I am not even going to address this because it is a given fact now, accepted by these countries (http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2016/04/parisagreementsingatures/), bar the USA, Syria and Costa Rica (for whom the agreement did not go far enough) who signed up to the IPCC 2015 Paris climate agreement. You must know something that they don’t.

      • ivankinsman – September 16, 2017 at 4:15 am

        I spend a lot of time debating with climate sceptics on this site,

        Ivanki, me thinks that your “mimicked” posting of AGW agitprop and “junk science” rhetoric is not what most learned and sensibly minded individuals would define as “debating”.

        Current “mimicry” of contrary claims, ….. without any forethought of the “claims” that you had just previously “mimicked” ……. is proof positive that you will say most anything in support of your misnurtured “religious beliefs”.

        And the “proof is in the pudding” which you posted previously, to wit:

        ivankinsman – September 15, 2017 at 11:30 pm

        Wild fires will become increasingly prevalent as a result of AGW, no doubt about it. Combine this with global deforestation and it is a man-made disaster recipe.

        ivankinsman – September 16, 2017 at 1:14 am

        If you are going to make wildly generalised claims such as ‘destroying the logging industry’ , give some supporting evidence for this. Generally, it is the norm to create fire breaks (as they do here where I live in Poland).

        Ivanki, ….. two (2) postings within 1 hour and 44 minutes (11:30 pm to 1:14 am) of each other, ….. with the 2nd posting pretty much contradicting your 1st posting.

        So, in the above you were “claiming” that …. (1st post) wildfires of forested areas are increasing, …… along with global deforestation also increasing, ……… (2nd post) but there is no proof whatsoever to support claims of ‘destroying the logging industry’.

      • Deforestation? What deforestation? I live in one of many counties in my state that are so heavily wooded, you can’t start even a leaf fire in the fall to get the ashes for your lawn without a permit from the fire department.
        Have you bothered. Ivankinsman, to look at satellite images on Google of any parts of the North American continent? No, you haven’t. Talking through your hat is much easier than doing due diligence by actual research, isn’t it?
        There IS NO deforestation here, Ivankinsman. Whoever told you that, or wherever you read it, it is pure baloney. You are full of utter nonsense.

      • “ivankinsman September 16, 2017 at 4:15 am
        I spend a lot of time debating with climate sceptics on this site, and I am going to have to put you in the category of one who knows something about what they are talking about but needs their eyes opening.

        Here is some supporting evidence of the wild fire/climate change link:
        General:
        http://www.dw.com/en/how-climate-change-is-increasing-forest-fires-around-the-world/a-19465490
        Scientific:
        http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/sectors/forests#statement-16387

        Absolute delusion.
        From your alleged proof:

        “For example, increases in wildfire, disease, drought, and extreme events are projected for some regions (see also Ch. 16: Northeast; Ch. 20: Southwest; Ch. 21: Northwest, Key Message 3; and Ch. 22: Alaska).”

        Projected? In other words, somebody claims prophetic powers. Absurd!

        “Factors affecting tree death – such as drought, physiological water stress, higher temperatures, and/or pests and pathogens – are often interrelated, which means that isolating a single cause of mortality is rare.3,24,16 However, in western forests there have been recent large-scale die-off events due to one or more of these factors,11,12,5 and rates of tree mortality are well correlated with both rising temperatures and associated increases in evaporative water demand “

        That is known as bafflegab. Nothing solid was stated; only specious claims.
        Bark beetles and most of the other insect plant kills are highly cyclical dating back as far as history records the vents. No changes in occurrences.
        Droughts are not more frequent.
        Droughts are not more severe.
        Rising temperatures are specious claims. Averaging thousands of unique separate and individual instruments is incorrect application of math. Claiming ability to globally measure a 0.6°C anomaly since 1880 is only possible when all instrumental and record adjustment error bounds are ignored. Include the error bounds and there is zero statistical value in the global anomaly.

        Your alleged science link is trash, without merit, science or proof.

        The hurricane trend is neutral to falling. Even NOAA admits that improved satellite coverage is responsible for greater awareness of storms; especially relevant the past few years since NOAA, NHC and NWS can “name storms” that reach the minimums for “tropical cyclone”.
        Even two decades ago, tropical cyclones out at sea often went unnoticed.

        The same goes for forest fires couple with the slow realization that fires are normal, even necessary for good forest health. This realization culminated in the quiet withdrawal of anti-fire symbol that served for most of a century; i.e. Smoky the bear.

        Fire lanes?
        Again, you talk with absolute ignorance.

        Visit North America, South America, Central America and try running “fire lanes” through the mountains, high deserts and jungles.
        Then sit down and start your own little campfire using common Western plants; juniper, sagebrush (artemisia tridentate), greasewood (aAdenostoma fasciculatum , eucalyptus, burning bush (dictamnus albus), manzanita, California holly(heteromeles arbutifolia, creosote bush (larrea tridentate) and the list goes on and on.
        Your faith in fire lanes is sorely misplaced.

        Many of these plants rival gasoline, lighters and strike-anywhere-matches for flammability.
        Fire lanes rarely halt, slow or even impede these fires.
        I personally witnessed one of these fires leap a large state maintained road with wide clear roadsides. The fire’s leap was unhindered.
        As that fire continued up the side of a mountain, one of the local firemen stated; “Well, that fire will burn for a week now.” A truth borne out over the following week.

        I have not read any “debate” comments you claim you posted. Every one of your comments I’ve read are chock full of climate consensus advocacy falsehoods, religious beliefs and you apparently accept whatever alarmists claim in spite of the complete lack of proofs.

        James Hansen initiated the “CO2 catastrophic meme back in 1987.
        Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming has never been proved.
        Every claim, starting with Hansen’s absurd street flooding claims, have all failed to materialize.

        • Models are wishing wells, not usable as substitutes for observations.
        • NOAA, MetO and Australia’s weather agencies have freely and continually changed history to suit their purposes right up to the present.
        • Nor do NOAA, MetO and Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) properly track, record and post error bounds. Properly captured error bounds would exceed the claimed increase in temperatures.
        • NOAA is unashamed that they cherry picked temperature stations by selectively eliminating the majority of temperature stations, especially the inconveniently cool stations. Plus NOAA uses temperatures from stations up to 1200km away to “correct” or “in-fill” temperatures.
        Take a close look at many of their flaming red “hot Earth” graphics. That red hot spot in Central Africa? It’s not a station, it’s an in-fill.
        • These alleged bastions of climate science treat opinions, averages, adjusted numbers, 1200km temperature contaminations, models, etc. as real.
        • Climate loons ignore every falsified claim they’ve made and make. Any true scientific hypothesis is disproved with just one failure.
        • CAGW climate science has hundreds of falsified claims against it. E.g. http://www.c3headlines.com/predictionsforecasts/
        • The CAGW hypothesis is unproven.
        • CAGW predictions and claims are all falsified to date.
        • Climate science depends on waffle words, gross assumptions and incredible leaps of total imagination.
        • Climate science created an immense funding channel that tens of thousands depend upon. It is not surprising that these researchers insist on supporting the climate consensus. Not only their salaries and careers are dependent upon keeping the ruse alive, climate researchers that step out of line risk everything.

        “ivankinsman September 16, 2017 at 4:15 am
        I admit your point about deforestation in North America and Europe, but I am referring more to deforestation around the globe, which is still occurring but fortunately slowing down as more countries are increasingly aware of its negative impact:

        http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/326911/icode/

        Why is deforestation linked to climate change? A quick overview here:

        http://www.climateandweather.net/global-warming/deforestation.html”

        Claims are specious opinions without firm, repeatable replicable proof.

        Countries experiencing deforestation are third world countries where trees represent fuel for heat and cooking or wood that is sold cheaply to bring scarce dollars into impoverished communities.
        Another major risk to forests are goats. Goats eat anything and everything as high as they can reach.
        Yes, goats are hardy tough self sufficient creatures that provide milk and meat that is kosher and halal. Still, to restore forests and orchards the goats need to be controlled.

        Which is another one of those hard rules climate scientists routinely ignore.
        If something is caused by “global warming” than that cause is universal around the globe. When forests prosper across several continents while third world and often densely populated communities suffer deforestation; that is not caused by “global warming”, “climate change”, “carbon dioxide”, etcetera.

        Supply those communities with abundant cheap easy to use concentrated energy fuels, control the goats and forests will return.

        “ivankinsman September 16, 2017 at 4:15 am
        As for your comments on the 2°C “tipping point”, I am not even going to address this because it is a given fact now, accepted by these countries (http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2016/04/parisagreementsingatures/), bar the USA, Syria and Costa Rica (for whom the agreement did not go far enough) who signed up to the IPCC 2015 Paris climate agreement. You must know something that they don’t.”

        You won’t address the statement because your claim is without merit.
        Claiming something is consensually accepted does not make it science, nor does it make it fact.

        The 2°C number was pulled out of a dark orifice solely as an attempt to “scare” people.
        There is no historical, geological, paleontological basis for 2°C increase as a tipping point.
        Every day has a range of temperatures many times greater than 2°C.
        Every season has a range of temperatures many times greater than 2°C.
        Every annum has a temperature range many times greater than daily or seasonal ranges.

        The 2°C claim fails every common sense test.


        That bogus capricious 2°C claim came from a very dark orifice without any data, rationale or support; except to frighten people..

        The Paris agreement is bogus. Bjorn Lomborg, using IPCC and IEA data, formulas, rates, assumptions and totals proves that Paris achieves nothing for the climate.
        The most optimistic Paris achievement is far less than a degree C° if and this is a mighty big “if” all of the other countries do not increase their CO2 outputs.
        A delusion since India, Pakistan, Vietnam, China, etc, and even Poland plan to increase fossil fuel usage.

      • @ …. ATheoK – September 16, 2017 at 7:10 pm

        Fire lanes?

        Again, you (ivankinsman) talk with absolute ignorance.

        Your faith in fire lanes is sorely misplaced.

        Now myself being a sorta persnickety person I just hafta denote the fact that Ivanki made mention of “fire breaks”, …….. not ”fire lanes”, …… to wit:

        ivankinsman – September 16, 2017 at 1:14 am

        Generally, it is the norm to create fire breaks (as they do here where I live in Poland).

        But it matters not one twit because Ivanki’s mimicry of terms and things that he/she knows little to nothing about is simple proof of his/her miseducation resulting with absolute ignorance of the subject matter.

        The literal facts are:

        Fire breaks ….. are created after a wild-fire or forest-fire has begun to burn out-of-control, in an attempt to “cut” its fuel supply off.

        Fire lanes ….. are roadways created through forested areas so that firefighters and equipment can quickly be transported to the locale if and/or whenever a fire has been reported.

        Some alleyways in urban areas are designated “fire lanes” and you best not be obstructing them.

      • Here in Arizona and most everywhere that has USFS and/or BLM lands some of which are jointly controlled the firelanes have been blocked off that I used to use to get way back to secluded area’s to hunt and go prospecting and camping. Now no one can visit these area’s without hiking miles to reach them. This has prevented fast access for fire fighters and rescue team’s to those remote area’s and caused many acres to become over grown because they also used them as logging roads. Some of those are now designated Wilderness Area’s too. When fires happen they burn out of control because of this. It could be argued that it has prevented some fires by stupid people not being able to go into those area’s.

      • “Samuel C Cogar September 17, 2017 at 4:39 am” </blockquote

        You are correct Samuel.

        The way Ivan stated it, and the East coast's use of static fire lanes for fire control, caused me to conflate Ivan's fire breaks with the East's "fire lanes".

        Fire breaks are cut when needed.

        Otherwise, someone has to maintain tens of thousands of miles of rarely needed fire lanes.

        I stand corrected, thank you.

    • To the extent that more CO2 means more and bigger trees, that will be true.
      Warmer weather won’t make a difference and according to half the alarmists, more CO2 means more rain not less.

      • Let’s put it as an equation to simplify it:
        More man-made CO2 = warmer atmosperic temperatures = drier soils due to water evaporation = more wild fires. Couldn’t be simpler.

      • Please provide a break down by percentage the volume of Carbon Dioxide created by natural sources and by human sources contributors. This can be found online. You will find a basic percentage of natural sources are 99.95% of all the Carbon Dioxide in the environment. In other words, humans only contribute 0.05% of Carbon Dioxide to our environment. If human’s totally stopped everything this second from fossil fuels, cement manufacturing and deforestation that are our top 3 contributors, natural sources would still exponentially increase the Carbon Dioxide in the environment. Being a human you contribute many tons of carbon dioxide – just by breathing – in your life time. We are what we eat and everything we eat is made of chains that are made with Carbon that during cell growth of our bodies a percentage is expelled through respiration. Human’s are considered part of the Natural Sources along with all other flora and fauna.

      • Ivan, you have no idea how silly you are when you make simplistic statements that are not rooted in reality.

        You wrote:

        “More man-made CO2 = warmer atmosperic temperatures = drier soils due to water evaporation = more wild fires. Couldn’t be simpler.”

        No it is TOO simple since you left out many possible factors other than climate,such as chronic decades long poor forest management, arson (There were a lot of that in Alaska), increased housing population in forested areas, media spin, increased in motorizes camping in national forests, …. and a lot more.

        This is why I know you have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

      • Couldn’t be simpler.

        Right you are, Ivanki,, …….. your mimicry of a silly stated equation is little more than “junk brain food” for the “simple minded” individuals.

      • ivan, what couldn’t be simpler, is you.
        The world is not simple, too bad your understanding of it is.
        Soil moisture depends on many, many things. Rainfall patterns, temperature, the amount of sunshine, the amount of humidity in the air. None of these are well understood, and many of them interact in ways only poorly understood.

        Your claim of certainty marks you as yet another troll who does nothing other than repeat the mantras you have been taught.

      • It also should be noted that over the past million – if not longer – year’s that weather patterns have changed area to area. The Sarah Desert used to be more wet and foliage grew there before it became arid. Evidence of dought and tropical have been normal changes that seem to indicate a forming pattern that just a few million years is not enough to actually present a cyclic pattern…yet. That although there are Climate Changes im the sense of weather cycles repeating. The fact they occurred before the industrial age and before the last ice age maximum in the Interglacial Period where CO2 levels were high and low shows that AGW is just a figment of the imagination used as scare tactics to the ignorance of the population.

      • ivankinsman

        “Let’s put it as an equation to simplify it:
        “More man-made CO2 = warmer atmosperic temperatures = drier soils due to water evaporation = more wild fires. Couldn’t be simpler”

        Maybe, but it could be ‘truer’. Increasing CO2 increases soil moisture, 1% CO2 up = 0.63% soil humidity up.

        That is a formula you should consider. Average warmer temperatures does not necessarily increase the draw of water from the soil because the oceans dominate the air moisture level, not the soil.

        If the ‘average’ temperature of the atmosphere is 2 degrees warmer, the absolute humidity will rise to maintain a constant relative humidity. The level is set by the 70% ocean coverage. Over land there is no net difference save a higher level of precipitation over high ground.

        I do not know where you picked up the idea that warmer air means drier soil due to evaporation. Drier soil due to evaporation would require a lower relative humidity. There is nothing to suggest that the air humidity will drop if it is warmer over the ocean.

        Oh! You are thinking like: if the sun warms the air today more than it did yesterday, it will be warner therefore the carrying capacity of air will be higher therefore it will dry the soil more therefore it will dry the trees more and there will be more forest fires! I get it. You think a ‘warmer day’ will lead to a ‘drier forest’. However, if it is two degrees warmer in the daytime it will also be two degrees warmer at night (remember, this is ‘global warming’, not ‘daytime warming’).

        To see the impact of a two degree warmer climate on the Washington area, simple find any reference spot and move downslope until it is two degrees warmer. That will only take a few minutes. The elevation change is almost exactly 1000 ft. So, pick a place in Washington State and note the climate at that exact altitude. Pick a second place 1000 ft below and near that point. That is the ‘climate change’ of 2 degrees C. In Washington State it is basically undetectable.

        Anything claimed beyond that,
        Is people talking through their hat.

        [Hey, I’m a poet!]

      • Warmist fail to take into account that a warmer environment creates more atmospheric water vapour from evaporation of glacier ice which having less salinity dilutes the oceanic water’s. This is not acidification that they call it because of it lowering the ph. But it lowers the ph by adding more purer water to it. Cold water holds more CO2 than warm water and a more diluted water with less salinity evaporates faster than water bound with other elements. So salinity will not change as fast in the ocean’s as more of the unbound water evaporates faster and at the same time it will absorb CO2 at an accelerated pace. This added atmospheric water will create more rainfall in higher elevations first that flows to lower elevations and those lower elevations will get more rainfall too. The geographic timeline shows that when there is less polar ice that a greater tropical area globally occurred. That seasonal higher rainfall increased flora that winter cold kills the smaller flora and creates fire hazards as underbrush that in forested area’s. More moisture in tree’s has 2 effects, one it protects them from burning and two when they get too hot they explode. Nature is a fickle thing that is self controlled. These fires happen in all weather and climates. As other’s pointed out popular tree’s adapted fire’s as part of their ecological processes to reproduce. These environmentalists fail to recognize the fundamentals of the ecology itself. They want the ecology to stand still at a point in the past and not evolve. They are afraid of change that throughout history has evolved with Climate Changes and think that they can stop it from changing. Nobody wants to give up all the advances created by fossil fuels or it’s advantages that have increased the global prosperity and increased ease of living that brought us out of the hardships of just trying to survive the elements.

      • Here’s the perspective from Montana. This is my last post because the evidence is there right in front of your eyes but it doesn’t fit in with the ‘sceptic viewpoint so it is brushed aside as irrelevant:

        http://helenair.com/opinion/columnists/wildfires-the-smoking-gun-of-western-climate-change/article_9317a04e-a37c-58e7-8a9a-ab97878807e9.html

        I’ve put up my evidence. Now someone show how wildfires have decreased over recent decades (Not a WUWT article – an independent source)

      • ivankinsman September 16, 2017 at 8:48 am
        Here’s the perspective from Montana.
        ——-

        From the link you provided:

        “2017 is already a record-breaking wildfire season in some regions of Montana . . .”

        Some? How many is some? Not the entire state? Not a majority of the state of Montana? Some?

        Anecdotal evidence is not science.

      • “ivankinsman September 16, 2017 at 8:48 am
        Here’s the perspective from Montana. This is my last post because the evidence is there right in front of your eyes but it doesn’t fit in with the ‘sceptic viewpoint so it is brushed aside as irrelevant:”

        It does not matter whether kooks parade up and down streets wearing sandwich boards or publish disconnected baseless claims online and in news articles.

        They’re specious claims without historical proof.

        Here is how science works;
        a) Claims must be based on historical measurements and observations. No proof means the claims are baseless.
        B) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        Your wildfires claims is false until prove. We do not have to do a dang thing to rebut fake news. The onus is upon you to prove your claims.

        Anecdotal comments published by true believers and just plain silly people is not evidence, proof or science. It counts as handwaving and fake spittle spewing speeches.

        Any wildfire’s claim must take into account the various government programs.
        A) A strict fire control program
        B) A looser less strict fire control regimen.
        C) A mostly hands off fire control program; exceptions for residential areas.

        All of which have been practiced during the twentieth Century; with the majority of the 20th Century following a very strict fire control program which ended before the 21st Century.

        II) You’ve made a number of “drier soil” claims. They are more hand waving gross assumption nonsense.
        You made it extremely obvious that you do not understand ‘arid’ environments. Instead you invent specious claims, without proof.

        That is another outrageous claim that requires solid evidence for proof. Again, specious opinions are not proof.

    • This 2 degree C “limit” that you speak of applies as I understand it to the start of the Industrial Revolution, the middle of th Little Ice Age circa 1750-1760.
      Have you ever wondered why the warming period selected by alarmists started then and not in the 16th and 17th centuries when Frost Fairs were held on the Thames.
      Surely the climate had warmed without the intervention of man by 1750.

      • If CO2 was so powerful that the trivially tiny amount that was being generated in the early years of the industrial revolution was sufficient to raise the world’s temperature by half a degree, than the much, much, much larger amounts since then should have increased temperatures by 10 to 15C by now.

        Your knowledge of history is woefully inadequate.

  6. Wild fires occur pretty much everywhere except in Antarctica.
    Obviously more destructive when forests or prarie are dry than wet. But news reports repeatedly point out that many (most?) wild fires are lit deliberately or by stupidity (camp fires getting out of control, cigarette butts).

    The idea that it is somehow caused by human CO2 emissions is completely unproven and wildly improbable. A temperature rise of allegedly 1 degree over 150 years? And what is the average temperature difference between Seattle and south California?

    Apart from arsonists, the biggest culprits are the Greenies who won’t allow proper forestry management to reduce risk to property. Just ask folk living in rural Australia.

      • Read this, przyjaciel!

        Deutsche Welle is Germany’s public broadcaster propaganda outfit. Masters of Fake News. Just like the BBC, in fact. (And incidentally no friend to the Polish people, apart from Donald Tusk, of course!)

        Not a good source, unless you are wanting someone to promote your grant application to manufacture “the sky is falling” agit-prop to scare the proles.

        “Ticking Climate Time Bomb”, indeed! Very “Scientific”. No evidence whatever! Perhaps you benefit yourself from this scam, or maybe you are just a little “bezkrytyczny” (gullible)?

        The only ticking time bombs that concern me are the ones in plastic buckets left on London’s Underground by our “friends” promoting the “Religion of Peace”.

      • Can find plenty of other sources. This is just an example. Anybody who thinks wildfires aren’t increasing must be living the life of a hermit on a remote mountain peak somewhere. Are you in Tibet or Nepal?

      • Ivan,

        the German link are filled with a lot of speculative statements. They seem to think climate change is the only culprit,which means they didn’t consider many other possibilities.

        The problem has been the overt effort for many decades to PREVENT any fires out there,thus depriving a natural burn effect on the many dead,decaying trees,which is a reason why fires burns so hot these days. The accumulated debris on the forest floor adds to the conflagration.

        The worst American fires happened many decades ago,that manage to elude the climate change blame game,here is a couple examples:

        The Great Fires of 1871

        ” In 1871, during the week of Oct. 8-14, it must have seemed like the whole world was ablaze for residents of the Upper Midwest. Four of the worst fires in U.S. history all broke out in the same week across the region. The Great Chicago Fire, which destroyed about a third of the city’s valuation at the time and left more than 100,000 residents homeless, stole the headlines.

        But at the same time, three other fires also scorched the region. Blazes leveled the Michigan cities of Holland and Manistee in what has been referred to as the Great Michigan Fire, while across the state another fire destroyed the city of Port Huron. The worst fire of them all, however, might have been the Great Peshtigo Fire, a firestorm that ravaged the Wisconsin countryside, leaving more than 1,500 dead — the most fatalities by fire in U.S. history.”

        and,

        “The Great Fire of 1910, also occasionally referred to as the “Big Burn,” is believed to be the largest single fire in recorded U.S. history. It burned more than 3 million acres in Idaho, Montana and Washington — in all, a total area roughly the size of Connecticut. There were 87 fatalities from the fire and 78 of those were firefighters.”

        The next fire, the 1988 Yellowstone fires was an excellent example on why the decades long NO fires allowed policy, was a bad one since Yellowstone was a fuel loaded tinderbox ready to explode,

        “The summer of 1988 saw the largest wildfire breakout in the recorded history of Yellowstone National Park. By the time the fire subsided, more than 2 million acres had been scorched — roughly a third of the entire park. Miraculously, no lives were lost as a direct result of the flames, even though as many as 25,000 firefighters had been dispatched to battle the conflagration.”

        A debate came up after the terrible fire that eventually softened the no fires allowed policy:

        “The fire was heavily covered by the media, in part because of the size of the blaze, but also due to Yellowstone’s prestige as one of the most famous national parks in the world. Though the park has since enjoyed a robust recovery, the coverage sparked fierce debate about the U.S. Forest Service’s evolving policies concerning wildfire management at the time. Throughout most of the century, the service had issued aggressive measures against all wildfires, vowing to dispense of them quickly. But in the decades leading up to the 1988 fire, a new policy allowing for controlled burns had been tested. In the aftermath of the 1988 fire, stricter guidelines under which naturally occurring fires may be allowed to burn were enacted.”

        https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/10-of-the-worst-wildfires-in-us-history

        Climate change claims are oversold over fires.

        .

      • Ok. Interesting. I am all for controlled burning and firebreaks and systainable logging. I don’t like to see country people like myself losing all they own to a wild fire whilst the urban populations remain relatively unscathed. Europe has suffered very badly this year and it was not a pleasant sight to watch.

  7. …..biomass as a fire driver has become a focus of attention in cold ecosystems, and concerns have been raised about climate in this c…

    So, in a nutshell (or a pine-cone as appropriate), they’ve discovered that ‘stuff burns’
    In the way of these modern times, they have become ‘concerned’ and feel duty bound to share their concern.

    Hello lads, this is Planet Earth – where do you think you’ve landed?

    • Ah, but anthropogenic lightning is!

      One more generation and they will be hacking down pylons with machetes.

  8. It is an interesting study for paleoclimatologists. Forest in glacial refugia in the Alps
    That fires start on their own in cold climates is not news. They don’t depend on heat to start.
    Many species of trees depend on fire to burn down old timber and allow seeds on the forest floor to germinate , the ashes of the older trees fertilise the young growth. Fireclimax vegetation can be recognised where there are large areas of forest with trees of one species which are all the same height and circumference. This happens in Siberia , N. Canada and Australia I think.

    • “M E Emberson September 16, 2017 at 2:42 am

      This happens in… Australia I think.”

      Sure does and no thinking about it. The Eucalypt is, in effect, an incendiary device.

  9. Dry and cold conditions don’t stop fire breaking out when there is plenty of combustible material about…what an astounding discovery ! Give these geniuses a Nobel prize, no one ever thought that could happen.

  10. Someone should do a search of scientific papers for the counter-balancing phrase “This discovery is trivial”.

  11. Since the sun is at a low angle in the arctic, does anyone know if forest fires can dim incoming sunlight enough to keep it colder earlier up there? We had above average forest fires this year (I think) and the arctic seems to have been colder than normal.

  12. In the US, the EPA has effectively banned controlled burns. There is a long (multi-year) waiting list to obtain a permit, and the areas allowed by the permits are so small as to be meaningless.

    Without these firebreaks, wild fires become more difficult to contain, and a greater threat to lives and structures.

    This policy (outlawing controlled burns) is intended to reduce particulate pollution, has the opposite effect. More Left lunacy.

    • Banned them? Really? They go on around here every spring, to kill the invading plants and provide ashes/fertilizer to prairie plants in the prairie areas, just like used to happen back in them there olden times before invading humans moved in.
      I don’t know where these annual fires are being banned by the EPA, but it is not around here. The fire departments use them for training exercises.

  13. “Changes in high mountain forest cover due to global warming, and especially the abandonment of agricultural land, risk exacerbating the spread of wildfires in the coming years.”

    That’s as far as I got then relegated this paper to the B.S. file, and I don’t mean Bachelor of Science.

  14. @martinbrumby

    “Apart from arsonists, the biggest culprits are the Greenies who won’t allow proper forestry management to reduce risk to property. Just ask folk living in rural Australia.” Martinbrumby.
    Or people living in Wyoming.

  15. “It echoes the recent wildfires in the Arctic tundra, where [the presence of] trees have become increasingly common. Trees don’t grow in tundra, tundra doesn’t have trees by definition. Are they trying to imply tundra is diminishing?

  16. Well, this was interesting, but the discussion strayed away from forest fires not related to human interference at all, over to ‘it’s all our fault because we cut down/don’t cut down trees,’ which is utter nonsense.
    it appears that wallowing in ignorance about the real nature of this planet is more important to a few than getting at the facts, which in this article were relate to fires that had nothing at all to do with humans or their interference.

  17. The biggest set of forest fires ever in BC (2017) were caused by a wet spring producing great abundance of undergrowth followed by a dry summer. So, ivankinsman, you have thing rather backwards. At least according to the BC Forest Service.

    Looked at your web site.

    Stopped reading after this:

    Planet earth has now reached a tipping point or more probably gone beyond this. </blockquote

  18. Due to many farming plants closing since decades the french forest is slowing growing up to the point it has become the number one forest in Europe in terms of area.
    But other factors helped in this trend. For example the modern firefighting means and strategies succeeded in reducing every year the toll of burnt areas in the southern France’s forests weakened every year by the summer droughts.
    Of course the environmentalists are lamenting when huge areas are reduced into ashes but they are forgeting that the Provence’s forest never was so widespread and healthy than in the present times .

    • I grew up in eastern Kansas. Today trees cover the eastern 1/4 of the state and anywhere else that has reasonable water and is not farmed or is too rocky. When Kansas was first settled the plains/grass lands extended all the way to the Missouri border. Trees were only in areas close to rivers. What’s changed. Before people the grass lands regularly caught fire and burned – thus no trees. Trees were only in those few locations wet enough in the summer to keep the grass from burning.

      • I’ve grown up in the West. In 2015 took a trip from Denver to L.V.

        I’ve crossed this route for 3 decades.

        It was June end July start, and saw nothing but green landscape until inside Nevada. I never saw such a thing. It was always high elevation brush.

        This has been my evidence of greening.

  19. For anyone who is interested, this is an interesting video (Portugal) on how destructive a ‘hurricane fire” can be on village communities:

    world/video/2017/sep/19/portugals-biggest-wildfire-we-all-thought-we-were-going-to-die-video

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