Finally, some commonsense western fire policies

 New DOI and DOA policy to cut overgrown, diseased, dead and burned trees is long overdue

Paul Driessen

President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous and long overdue.

Westerners are delighted, and I’ve advocated such reforms since my days on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.

As of September 12, amid this typically long, hot, dry summer out West, 62 major forest fires are burning in nine states, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. The Interior Department and Ag Department’s Forest Service have already spent over $2 billion fighting them. That’s about what they spent in all of 2015, previously the most costly wildfire season ever, and this season has another month or more to go. The states themselves have spent hundreds of millions more battling these conflagrations.

Millions of acres of forest have disappeared in smoke and flames – 1.1 million in Montana alone. All told, acreage larger than New Jersey has burned already. However, even this hides the real tragedies.

The infernos exterminate wildlife habitats, roast eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, immolate wildlife that can’t run fast enough, leave surviving animals to starve for lack of food, and incinerate organic matter and nearly every living creature in the thin soils. They turn trout streams into fish boils, minus the veggies and seasonings. Future downpours and rapid snowmelts bring widespread soil erosion into streambeds. Many areas will not grow trees or recover their biodiversity for decades.

Most horrifically, the conflagrations threaten homes and entire communities. They kill fire fighters and families that cannot get away quickly enough, or get trapped by sudden walls of flames.

In 2012, two huge fires near Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado burned 610 homes, leaving little more than ashes, chimneys and memories. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated through smoke and ash that turned daytime into choking night skies. Four people died. A 1994 fire near Glenwood Springs, CO burned 14 young firefighters to death.

These are not “natural” fires of environmentalist lore, or “ordinary” fires like those that occur in state and privately owned and managed forests. Endless layers of laws, regulations, judicial decrees and guidelines for Interior and Forest Service lands have meant that most western forests have been managed like our 109 million acres of designated wilderness: they are hardly managed at all.

Environmentalists abhor timber cutting on federal lands, especially if trees might feed profit-making sawmills. They would rather see trees burn, than let someone cut them. They constantly file lawsuits to block any cutting, and too many judges are all too happy to support their radical ideas and policies.

Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted. Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it. Then it’s allowed to burn, until a raging inferno is roaring over a ridge toward a rural or suburban community.

The result is easy to predict. Thousands of thin trees grow on acreage that should support just a few hundred full-sized mature trees. Tens of billions of these scrawny trees mix with 6.3 billion dead trees that the Forest Service says still stand in eleven western states. Vast forests are little more than big trees amid closely bunched matchsticks and underbrush, drying out in hot, dry western summers and droughts – waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires or arsonists to start super-heated conflagrations.

Flames in average fires along managed forest floors might reach several feet in height and temperatures of 1,472° F (800° C), says Wildfire Today. But under extreme conditions of high winds and western tinderboxes, temperatures can exceed 2,192° F (1200° C), flame heights can reach 165 feet (50 meters) or more, and fires can generate a critter-roasting 100,000 kilowatts per meter of fire front. Wood will burst into flame at 572° F. Aluminum melts at 1,220 degrees, silver at 1,762 and gold at 1,948° F!

Most of this heat goes upward, but super-high temperatures incinerate soil organisms and organic matter in thin western soils that afterward can support only stunted, spindly trees for decades.

These fires also emit prodigious quantities of carbon dioxide, fine particulates and other pollutants – including mercury, which is absorbed by tree roots from rocks and soils that contain this metal, and then lofted into the sky when the trees burn.

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.

Remove some of that fuel – and fires won’t get so big, hot, powerful and destructive. We should also do what a few environmentalist groups have called for: manage more areas around buildings and homes – clearing away brush that federal agencies and these same groups have long demanded be left in place.

Finally, we should be using more of the readily available modern technologies like FireIce from GelTech Solutions. They can suppress and extinguish fires, and protect homes, much better than water alone.

The last bogus eco-activist claim is that “fire isn’t destruction; it’s renewal. It creates stronger, more diverse ecosystems.” That may be true in managed forests, timber stands in less tinder-dry states, and forests that have undergone repeated, non-devastating fires. For all the reason presented above, it is not true for government owned and mismanaged forests in our western states.


Over 50 million acres (equal to Minnesota) are at risk of catastrophic wildfires. Right now, we are spending billions of dollars we don’t have, should not have to spend fighting all these monstrous killer blazes, and should have available to improve forests and parks and fund other vital programs.

These forests could and should create jobs and generate revenues in states where far too many lands, timber, oil and minerals have been placed off limits – primarily by urban politicians, judges and radical activists who seem determined to drive people off these western lands, turn them into playgrounds for the wealthy, and roll back other Americans’ living standards and well-being. Cleaning out dead, diseased, burned, overgrown trees would bring countless benefits. It would make our forests healthy again.

Above all, the new Interior-Agriculture approach would demonstrate that Rural Lives Matter.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and other books on the environment.

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September 17, 2017 8:15 am

I think it was the late 80s when they stopped letting Coloradans cut deadwood for firewood. In those thirty some years, the beetle kill and other natural tree fatalities have left the forests here not much more than tinderboxes.

Reply to  stevekeohane
September 17, 2017 9:10 am

Right… beetle kill: why doesn’t this article mention the beetle kill – and the milder winters which have let the beetle multiply?
Of those millions of dead trees, how many killed by beetle?
(and the coal fired power station bit is completely irrelevant and the numbers are completely out of date)

Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 10:52 am

Say griff, could you tell us about the PREVIOUS beetle kill? You know, about 80 years ago, across the same region, that wiped out millions of trees? What brought that about?

Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 10:56 am

Beetle kill due to wood from Asian-made shipping pallets being introduced to the continental US. Hasn’t squat to do with “global warming.” How much do you get paid for trolling here, anyway?

Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 11:15 am

The emerald ash borer, an Asian beetle riding wooden shipping containers into the US from Asian ports, has invaded US trees and nearly driven the American ash tree into extinction.
The EAB infestation has severely affected ash trees in southeastern Michigan. Estimates suggest more than 20 million ash trees in urban, suburban and forested areas have already been killed. That’s 20 million trees in Michigan alone, Griff.
That’s just ONE state, Griff. If you choose to live in ignorance, that’s your curse.
The ash tree is nearly gone in Illinois. I don’t have statistics for other states, but I can get them. Any more stupid questions?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 11:25 am

From the article:

…Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted…

From Griff:

…why doesn’t this article mention the beetle kill…

Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 12:22 pm

CO had a pine beetle outbreak in the 1970s, at the end of a multidecade cooling cycle. Winters in the ’60s and ’70s were among the coldest on record. For example, the coldest temperature ever recorded in WA State was in December 1968.
Faulty forest management practices are to blame for the current beetle infestation, not “global warming”.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 3:54 pm

I’ve read that some or much of the beetle problem was due to low rainfall for several years, which reduced trees’ sap-production, which is their defense against beetles. A wet winter is predicted in the PNW, so maybe things will improve.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Griff
September 17, 2017 5:13 pm

We know Griff does not read too well. Getting tiring now…

Reply to  Griff
September 18, 2017 1:22 pm

Right… beetle kill: why doesn’t this article mention the beetle kill – and the milder winters which have let the beetle multiply?
How cold does it have to be? The pine beetle has infested north of Edmonton where -40+C is normal every year. Was it ever that cold in Colorado or Montana?

Reply to  Griff
September 18, 2017 4:53 pm

There was a very wet winter there last year, courtesy of El Niño. And cold, as in, way.

Reply to  Griff
September 19, 2017 10:25 am

Both the Rocky Mountain Pine Beatle and the Ipps Beetle and not affected by normal Western winters. Extreme cold for extended periods is required.
The beetle infestation is a naturally occurring event that has been exasperated by a proliferation of weak trees. Strong trees can withstand beetle attack without harm. Weakness in trees is mostly from overgrowth which is the result of lack of moderate forest fires. Drought also plays a part but with more CO2 in the atmosphere, that is becoming less of an issue.
The beetle infestation, which is serious is the result poor forest management. It’s all Smokey the Bear’s fault.

Reply to  Griff
September 19, 2017 5:02 pm

“We know Griff does not read too well”
Griff doesn’t read at all, Griff just posts whatever BS comes into his head after reading the headline to distract the contributors, derail the discussion and take up bandwidth because that’s how Griff earns his beer money.

Reply to  stevekeohane
September 17, 2017 3:56 pm

We did our annual fall drive yesterday, through north-central Colorado, and were dismayed at how many dead trees there were. Millions of them, far more than green trees. Most are beetle-killed, but there are also moth-killed, which attack all of the fir trees, leaving only Ponderosa.
We did see some logging of the dead areas, but not nearly enough.
We lost our family cabin in the first of the big modern fires, the Buffalo Creek Fire May 19 1996. It was a blowtorch pushed by 60 mph winds that burned over 12,000 acres in less than 24 hours. Started by irresponsible unsupervised troubled teens taken on a camping trip. I can tell you that after 20+ years, nothing but grass has recovered. It’s a semi-arid area, trees will take hundreds of years to return, it’s too dry for even aspen to come in. There is far less wildlife in the burn since there’s no shelter and not much food. Some birds like bluebirds, flickers, and wrens do like nesting in the snags though.
It would be a blessing for the current policies to change to more responsibly manage forests. Maybe all these environmentalists should lose everything to a fire for reality to knock them in the head. A fire so hot that it burns the soil down several inches IS NOT NATURAL.

September 17, 2017 8:17 am

President Trump’s influence cutting through the fantasy green once again.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  alfin2101
September 17, 2017 2:00 pm

Well now, “Ya’ll”, ……. “fantasy green” or not, ………. the literal fact is, …… unless the sane, ….. common sense thinking, ….. non-liberally brainwashed, …… non-Politically Correct, …… non-illegal immigrant, ….. High School educated, …… productive individuals living in the US of A ……. start grouping together, screaming louder and using physical force to put a halt to the “craziness” of …… the liberal eco-wacko, racist, bigoted, protesting, dope dealing, rioting, burning, cop-killing, anti-capitalism, hate-America misfits and non-producing “troughfeeders” …… then civil disobedience by the afore named “misfits” will continue to exacerbate with increased frequency.
The fear of Godly retribution needs to be instilled in the minds of the liberal Federal Judges who believe they have been Ordained to “legislate from the bench” (enacting new Law instead of adhering to the Word of Law as originally written).
The “intent” of a Law was determined by the Legislative body that enacted said Law ,,,,,,, and Judges should be forced via Congressional action to accept and enforce said original “intent” …… and should be reprimanded and/or disbarred if their personal beliefs or actions “override” said original “intent”.
America’s socio-economic pendulum has done swung too far off center to the “left” to ever swing back without forceful intervention by the sane-minded citizens.
Iffen the eco-wacko PC liberals won’t “listen” to reason …….. then they will just have to “feel“ the pain of forced compliance …….. or everyone will have to be ready to withstand the death and destruction of anarchy (US Civil War II).

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 17, 2017 2:06 pm

OOPS, ……. my bad, …….. mis-keyed an “edit” character at the end of 2nd paragraph.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 17, 2017 2:07 pm

Samuel, this blog is about climate science. Could you try and comment about that please?

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 18, 2017 4:46 am

And so critiqueith: Mark S Johnson – September 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Samuel, this blog is about climate science. Could you try and comment about that please?

Mark S, it appears that your “short-term” memory, ……. reading comprehension skills …….. and/or your memory recall “association” ability is in dire need of a “self-nurturing” (which is not always possible).
Anyway, not that it will make any difference in your “thought processes” but my above posted commentary was in response to the following “non-climate science” verbiage, ….. to wit:
Excerpted from Paul Driessen’s published commentary, to wit:

Environmentalists abhor timber cutting on federal lands, especially if trees might feed profit-making sawmills. They would rather see trees burn, than let someone cut them. They constantly file lawsuits to block any cutting, and too many judges are all too happy to support their radical ideas and policies.
Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted. Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it. Then it’s allowed to burn, until a raging inferno is roaring over a ridge toward a rural or suburban community.


Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 18, 2017 6:47 am

This blog is about whatever interests Anthony.

Steven F
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
September 18, 2017 12:46 pm

“Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it.”
This line doesn’t apply to most areas. In national parks, which for the most part have never been logged, fire suppression is no allowed if the fire is naturally caused. In any case most of these naturally caused fires are very small and tend to burn themselves out. Take Yosemite There are tipically several forest fires every year caused by lightning but these are never an issue. However in the area between hetch hetchy and Yosemite valley , logging was done to support the construction of Hetch Hetchy dam. This area is prone to big fires and it has been that way for years.
However if the area is not a national park most lightning fires are suppressed even lighting caused fires. However that said most fires anywhere in the west are caused by people. Thinning and controlled burns are generally allowed in most areas, including national parks, if it is safe to do it. However the forest service has been known to light “Controlled burns” in the middle of july in a dry years. Which predictably results in an uncontrolled fire. Thinning is becoming very popular in populated areas but these operations generally don’t result in much sellable lumber. So someone has to pay for it and no one has enough money to solve the problem quickly.

Tom Halla
September 17, 2017 8:19 am

Apparently, Native Americans count, in green ideology, as unnatural. So when the Indians routinely managed forests with fire, they were doing something unnatural. The “wilderness” Europeans encountered in the Americas was mostly feral, not “wild”.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 17, 2017 11:05 am

I have mentioned the book: “Ancient Americans” by Charles Mann before . Whilst its contents are probably well known to any American educated child , to me it was quite a revelation to hear that the environment , before Europeans arrived was so well managed .
Apparently the first English settlers on the East coast found woodland so clear of brush it looked like an English parkland estate and John Smith wrote of galloping at high speed through the woods with little impediment.
French and Spanish explorers further west talked of seeing the regular firing of woodland to clear old growth and produce fresh growth for game or horticulture.
Of course one should realise that the indigenous peoples had over 12000 years to work out their strategy for managing the continent . Europeans have had just 400 years and quite possibly are still in a learning phase . Perhaps a little humility might not come amiss.

Gunga Din
Reply to  mikewaite
September 17, 2017 11:46 am

Of course one should realise that the indigenous peoples had over 12000 years to work out their strategy for managing the continent .

They had no “strategy for managing the continent”. They didn’t even know what a continent was.
They had a “strategy” to acquire food, clothing and shelter for their own people. Some of those “strategies” would make a modern environmentalist cringe
For example, before the horse was reintroduced to North America, some tribes were known to have driven herds of buffalo over cliffs, salvage what they could of the carnage and leave the rest to rot.

Gunga Din
Reply to  mikewaite
September 17, 2017 11:48 am

Messed up the “blockquote”.
The quote within the quote is what I said.

Another Ian
Reply to  mikewaite
September 17, 2017 1:55 pm

Not North America but similar practices by Australian aboriginals outlined in
Bill Gammage’s “The biggest estate on earth: how aboriginies made Australia”

Count to 10
Reply to  mikewaite
September 17, 2017 5:05 pm

Yeah, one of the more annoying lies told is the idea that the native Americans “lived in harmony with nature”, or were in some way efficient. There is some issue of how many were killed by illness, but the small population density for nomadic tribes was largely because the environment wouldn’t support their way of life in any larger numbers.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Count to 10
September 17, 2017 5:15 pm

The estimates of Indian population used some fifty or sixty years ago were the bottom after the repeated plagues. The probable population density was much higher than most Europeans encountered, as the plagues preceded European settlement. Charles Mann gives a review of this in “1491”. The Indians had a much larger ecological impact as there were a good many of them.

Steve Case
September 17, 2017 8:28 am

In 1988 the forest ranger leading our nature walk told us that the fires in the park were caused by lightning and would be allowed to burn. A few days later in the Tetons we watched the smoke from the Yellowstone fire. The first day on our way home was mostly driving through smoke.

September 17, 2017 8:32 am

There is another side to this story. Fire suppression policies have not allowed the numerous smaller natural burns that woild remove fuel buildup. So it needs to be done artificially to properly manage the forest. The other alternative once fuel load is cleared is to remove the fire supression policy. A diversity of forest maturities results and is better for both fish and game.

September 17, 2017 9:11 am

The idea that Natural is some how better than managed is very creationist. Since very few people believe in creation anymore I don’e understand how these creationist ideas linger.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 9:28 am

Joel, The idea that natural is better is NOT creationist, as creationist believe God intended us to tend his creation. Where creationists differ from CAGWists is creationist don’t think humans will/can ruin the Earth by emitting CO2.

Reply to  Stevan Reddish
September 17, 2017 9:35 am

It’s a neo-pagan concept, if anything.

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 9:29 am

You have it backwards. In the Scriptures, humanity is called to be stewards of creation. Management of the land and resources is expected of us, and we are free to enjoy the fruits of that labor.
Most “creationists” also happen to be CAGW skeptics, whether or not you think that’s a case of being ‘right for the wrong reasons’.

Count to 10
Reply to  drednicolson
September 17, 2017 5:22 pm

Well, it is a geneticly creationist kind of thing, just not necessarily a Judeo/Christian creationists one.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 9:36 am

The idea that natural is somehow better is actually evolutionist, by the way.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Stevan Reddish
September 17, 2017 9:45 am

Not evolutionist, or creationist, but a sort of John Muir mysticism about “nature”.

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 9:49 am

‘Since very few people believe in creation anymore ‘
Your Opinion is Ignored.

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 10:02 am

” very few people believe in creation”
Even the Qur’an has the story of creation……you are way off base

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 10:33 am

“Since very few people believe in creation anymore”. Well, if you discount the views of billions, perhaps.

Richard Bell
Reply to  BallBounces
September 17, 2017 12:59 pm

There is a difference between believing in a Creator and being a ‘Young Earth Creationist’. The Creation account in the book of Genesis is meant allegorically, not literally and the revealed Truth is that God created everything and that while it is all Good, nothing within Creation is worthy of worship (God is without Creation [external to the Universe]).
As a Catholic, I am continually disappointed at how I get tarred with the same brush of ‘being anti-science’ as sola-scriptura Christians that reject aspects of science because science is too papist.
The only difference between what the pope says about evolution and what atheists say about evolution is the pope will make reference to ‘God’s ineffable divine plan” wherever the atheist refers to ‘random chance’.

Reply to  BallBounces
September 18, 2017 11:58 am

Of course that statement doesn’t mean that Jesus (if He actually said that) believed literally that God made a man from the dust of the ground, then plants, then animals, then a woman out of the man’s rib, in that precise order and method, as in Genesis 2. That creation myth also irreconcilably contradicts the myth in Genesis 1.
Do you actually believe that both those myths and all other creation accounts and stories in the Bible are literally “true”?

Reply to  BallBounces
September 18, 2017 1:15 pm

“Sola scriptura” refers only to the Protestant tenant (except for Anglicans) that the Bible is the only source for theology, not Church doctrinal teaching.
Unfortunately, it has transmogrified into biblical literalism, which strictly speaking even fundamentalists don’t embrace. They instead believe in biblical inerrancy, which isn’t quite the same thing. Both Catholic and Protestant theology at least since Augustine has recognized that the Bible isn’t literally “true” in every case. Even Calvin himself accepted that Genesis 1 isn’t literally true. Young Earth Creationists today who call themselves Calvinists shouldn’t.
YEC is a blasphemous heresy, recognized as such not just by Roman and Orthodox Catholic doctrine, but Mainstream Protestants as well.

Reply to  BallBounces
September 18, 2017 5:51 pm

Just so that you can appreciate how far outside of Christianity your cult is, here’s a reality check for you of ecumenical proportions:
Catholic (I’d delete the “almost”):
“Progressive” Protestants (not my affiliation, but, hey, there are a lot of people on the religious Left):
But not a “Progressive” and indubitably a scientist, Collins of the Human Genome Project, embraces a version of theistic evolution:
This is similar to what I tell my fundamentalist students. Evolution is as incontrovertible a fact as heliocentrism, gravitation, the atomic theory of matter and the germ theory of disease, but you are free to inject God into the history of life on earth at any point you want. But it has to correspond to actual observed developments, as for example the transition to multicellular life, the transition from fish to land tetrapods, from “reptiles” to mammals, from theropod dinosaurs to birds, what have you.

Reply to  BallBounces
September 18, 2017 6:21 pm

Besides which, citing public opinion in the US hardly signifies.
The fact is that the theological doctrine of the overwhelming majority of Christian denominations with the vast majority of adherents, regardless of the opinions of individual believers, embrace the reality of evolution. The largest denomination in which it is even at issue is the Southern Baptists, and they are deeply divided, with the pro-science faction gaining every year.
The only denominations which remain opposed to objective reality are Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists. What percent of professed Christians are they? I’m guessing less than one percent.
So your blasphemous cult is not only in a tiny minority, but clearly heretical. Not just modern churches say so, but even Augustine and Calvin.

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 11:19 am

Natural is better? Yes, but most of the people who say that don’t have a clue as to the real meaning of natural.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Sara
September 17, 2017 11:59 am

And they seem to deny that anything Man does in the natural realm would have to be “Natural”.

Reply to  Joel Sprenger
September 17, 2017 1:16 pm

“…I don’e understand how these creationist ideas linger.”
They’re not creationist ideas, I’m very sure, but rather ideas sometimes attributed to creationists by people who don’t realize that, overwhelmingly, creationists (predominantly Christian) brought us science in the modern sense of the word . . Much propaganda has been generated and infused into us from an early age to make it seem like creationists were/are anti-science though, it seems to me, or I wouldn’t need to explain that here on a “science site” . . (nor would I have been banned from commenting on it three times over the summer, (apparently) for nothing more than daring to say anything that might get zealous Evolutionists snowflakes upset ; )
Seriously, the CAGW is not the anti-skeptical Siants clan’s first rodeo, me thinks . .

Reply to  JohnKnight
September 18, 2017 6:53 pm

Seriously, if you imagine that creationism is scientific rather than religious, and that evolution is not a repeatedly observed scientific fact, then please present all the scientific evidence which you suppose shows the fact of evolution false.
God will surely punish you for perpetrating such an outrageous lie. There is no such thing as an “evolutionist”. There are only scientists.
Are you seriously arguing that H!tler and Stal!n were “evolutionists”? Clearly, you are even more ignorant of history than you are of science.
Biology under Stalin was anti-Darwinian, which you’d know had you ever read even a single article or book on the period. He promoted Lysenko, who advocated a corrupt version of Lamarckian evolution.
H!tler couldn’t have been farther from Darwin, who advocated for the unity of the human species, against the rabid racists of his day, who regarded non-whites as subhuman. He came out of a liberal, anti-slavery background.
Is there no creationist lie so outrageous that you won’t buy into it?

Reply to  JohnKnight
September 19, 2017 11:22 am

Today creationists are anti-science. No two ways about it. You d@ny not only the facts of biology, but physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy and all other life and physical sciences.
The age of the earth is a measurement. That earth is a sphere, contrary to the Bible, and goes around the sun are now observations, not the inferences they were when first made by pagan scientists. We now know also that the sun orbits the barycenter of the galaxy, which fact you also d@ny.
That earth is ~4.55 billion years old and the universe ~13.7 billion, are, as noted observations. There is no way scientifically to “refute” these facts. Same goes for the fact of evolution, so I’m not surprised that you haven’t tried. All the evidence in the world shows the fact of evolution, and there is no evidence whatsoever against it.
There is no scientific basis for creationism, of either the Young or Old Earth varieties. You’re free to believe that the universe was created, but there is no actual scientific evidence for that either. The vast majority of Christians belong to denominations which accept these facts. The cults and sects which don’t are the heretics, not we Mainstream believers, as your comment suggests you imagine.
Protestant theology and even Scholastic Catholic philosophy teaches the doctrine of the Hidden God, who has not personally revealed Himself on Earth since walking with Abraham in human form. Later, He spoke to Moses in clouds and a burning bush, but for thousands of years now, to see God has been to die, according to the Bible. Hence the need for Christ.
For Protestant theology to work, ie for justification by faith alone, God must needs remain hidden. If you could “prove” His existence, then of what value would faith be? Many here have pointed this fact of Protestant theology to you. In my experience, few creationists have ever actually read the Bible or studied the tenets of their own espoused religion.
Nowhere in the Bible itself does it say that scripture (itself decided upon by the Catholic Church) is the literal word of God and must be regarded as such. That can’t be because in so many passages, the Bible is clearly not literally true, as recognized by none other than John Calvin, founder of the denominations of Presbyterians, Dutch Reformers, Baptists, Huguenots, etc.
Hence, creationism, which makes God out to be a liar, deceptive, cruel and incompetent, is a blasphemous heresy.

H. D. Hoese
September 17, 2017 9:17 am

There is a great article in American Scientist (Sept.-Oct. 2017) by John Anderson (College of the Atlantic). “Why Ecology Needs Natural History.” He demonstrates some of the problem including the reduction in production of “natural history” Ph.D.s. , down nearly by half since 1962. He also has a book I have not seen (Deep Things out of Darkness: A History of Natural History, Univ. Calif. Press). “…theoretical breakthroughs are preceded by the kind of deep observational work that has fallen out of vogue….” Basically, we need to check on things, it’s called field work.

September 17, 2017 9:22 am

Small fire now, small fire later. No fire now, big fire later.
The kind of monosyllabic common sense that flies right over the heads of our modern hyper-intellectual left-leaners, because any idea that doesn’t need a 20 page paper of incomprehensible academy-speak to express has to be wrong and is probably racist. 😐

September 17, 2017 9:44 am

With CO2 now at 400+ ppm, the forests are growing larger and faster, and especially with far more underbrush on forest floors. Obviously this creates more fuels, especially ground based ladder fuels that allow smaller fires to grow into a crown fire that candles at tree top in a wind and can burn a lot more forest area, and much quicker.
Couple this with fire suppression the last 75+ years and in many locations, new parks and wilderness designations, and we have a ripe opportunity for many large fires to happen wherever conditions are present for fire to take hold. There isn’t much that can be done to stop this now that the forests are in this condition, other than to let it burn and let it return to a new rejuvenated young healthy forest. Which will soak up more CO2 growing a new forest than an old mature forest that will fall over and rot and inhibit new trees from growing. We all know that fire is a requirement for a healthy forest and has gone on forever. It is natural.
The only qualification to this is that we do need to protect our cities, towns and rural area’s in our forests and grasslands, as well as critical infrastructure that we rely on for modern society. We need to manage the forest between this urban/rural interface by logging and land management, including human pre-emptive fire controlled burning in spring or fall, so that we can reduce our risk from summer inferno’s when we always sooner or later, get a hot dry spell. We need to adapt and understand why this is happening – not blame this on burning fossil fuels that a tax will fix. Come to think of it, this is the sane strategy we should employ to coexist with an ever changing climate, and all the perils that have always come with mother nature doing what it does.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Earthling
September 17, 2017 4:02 pm

“There isn’t much that can be done to stop this now that the forests are in this condition, other than to let it burn ”
How about allowing prisoners, tracked by non-removable GPS anklets, to cut the brush and earn some pay? At least they could cut brush-free lanes, which would help reduce wildfires a bit.

September 17, 2017 9:47 am

Great article! Thank you.
I’m a Montanan. I’ve never, in living memory, experienced a fire season so bad. I’m in the south-central part of the state and we didn’t see many blazes, but boy did we get the smoke. It was horrible! I don’t think these greenies understand how big of a polluter Mother Nature is; how many wide-spread health problems that smoke causes.
I’ve been reading and commenting on posts on Facebook, trying to engage these people who lack the skill to think rationally and for themselves. It hasn’t gone well as they’re too indoctrinated. The main point I try to make is that Montana has a semi-arid climate. We frequently experience drought, just not usually in all 56 counties at one time. But, for this fire season to be attributed to a change in our climate, we would have to see a drought in all 56 counties for years on end. As it sits now, this is just a weather patter.
We’ve seen wildfires in the past. It usually is a yearly occurance for us. However, the INTENSITY of this year’s is not usual. That, I do not blame on climate change/global warming. That I lay at the feet of the radical environmentalists for the reasons that this article states.

Reply to  Angela
September 17, 2017 10:07 am
Reply to  Latitude
September 17, 2017 10:20 am

Yes, there have been many spectacular photos from these fires. We’ve had the most acres burned, the most large fires reported, etc. It’s just not something we want to be “winning” at. 😉

R. Shearer
Reply to  Latitude
September 17, 2017 11:47 am

That picture is from 2000.

Bill Murphy
Reply to  Angela
September 17, 2017 3:07 pm

That, I do not blame on climate change/global warming. That I lay at the feet of the radical environmentalists for the reasons that this article states.

This year is basically a rerun of the “Big Blowup of 1910”
and thus has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with incompetent management and weather. Then and now. The radical environmentalists have had a lot to do with the problem today (not so much in 1910) but most of the blame lies with decades of “zero tolerance” fire suppression policy and other poor management policies brought about by the nature of bureaucratic agencies faced with pressure from diverse groups demanding they do everything from banning all use of the forests to “save Bambi” to others demanding aggressive clear cutting to provide jobs and a better economy.
It’s hard to blame the Forest Service completely, though. Anything they try to do will be opposed by somebody with a lawyer. A control burn proposal will be opposed by environmentalists, nearby city councils and home owners, and regulated into oblivion by the EPA. Thinning and salvage logging will be fought by environmentalists and the necessary skid roads for the logging will be fought by EPA, environmentalists and sometimes by local residents. And any type of insect control, even for non-native species, will be fought by almost everybody except those who live in and work in the forests, and even by some of them that are clueless. These new proposals may be a step in the right direction, but I suspect they will be litigated into just more useless paper work.

Stevan Reddish
September 17, 2017 9:48 am

Reading the post I saw only the statement that changes were being made. The post then listed what was wrong with old policies and advised what new policies should be. Did I miss a statement of what new policies actually have been put into affect?

Reply to  Stevan Reddish
September 17, 2017 10:01 am

SR, in 9/12 Zinke ordered all agencies and units of DoI to immediately begin aggressive forest fire fuel reduction on all lands under DoI jurisdiction. That means thinning lodgepool pine stands and removing bark beetle killed trees. The new policy is called pre-fire suppression. Presumably this will become a line item in the next DoI budget, although in part may pay for itself in produced wood. You can find many news reports on the new policy.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  ristvan
September 17, 2017 8:57 pm

ristvan, I thought when Paul Driesen said:
“New DOI and DOA policy to cut overgrown, diseased, dead and burned trees is long overdue…
President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous and long overdue.” ,
he was referring to action taken by Zinke and/or Perdue AFTER Trump became president.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  ristvan
September 17, 2017 9:07 pm

ristvan, I interpreted your “9/12” as meaning “September of 2012”. Did you mean September 12, 2017?
Thinning of lodgepole pine stands has been happening in my area (central Oregon) for at least the 2 years since I moved here.

September 17, 2017 9:55 am

I remember a call in show. The first caller said that it made sense to allow people to haul deadfalls out of the forest. The second caller was really rabid, it sounded like she was foaming at the mouth because she was so mad. She felt that the first caller should go to jail for a long time … for removing a deadfall.

Gunga Din
Reply to  commieBob
September 17, 2017 12:09 pm

I forget it’s name but there was a company that went into the woods, cut out dead Colorado Blue Spruce and then built luxurious log homes from them.
That was in the late 70’s, early 80’s.
I doubt that company is still in business.

Bloke down the pub
September 17, 2017 9:58 am

And now sit back and watch the judges do their level best to block its implementation.

September 17, 2017 10:01 am

We’ve also a big fire north of Glacier in Wateron: the Kenow/Waterton fire. Waterton was more “natural” but still Parks Canada has been putting out spot fires for some time, so the areas burned were waiting to go up. Most of the fires in Alberta’s forests have been suppressed for far too long and there is a huge fuel supply. This was acknowledged a few years ago, but we still put fires out because there are so many developments (houses, industry) in forests. Last year was the huge Fort Mac fire. Fort McMurray city was built INSIDE a forest with no fire guards.
You will find this interesting.
A significant portion of Alberta’s SW forests burned in 1910. Stateside was worse.
Driessen’s article is timely.

September 17, 2017 10:18 am

Yes, our friends (frankly, since we share borders with three of your provinces, you are neighbors and that makes you close to being considered family) in Canada have also been experiencing the horrors of this particularly bad fire season. We cannot forget y’all. I’ve read many greens putting Canada up as being “environmentally friendly” as to their forest management. These people claim that “keeping it wild” has never been a problem for Canadian forests. I can see that they are wrong.
Have you been experiencing benefits from this cold front? We saw close to three inches (according to my non-scientific rain collection tube) of rain over three days in Billings. It’s been snowing in the higher elevations and on a lot of these fires, helping containment efforts, but not putting them out.
As for 1910, I’m somewhat familiar with that burn. Montana had over 3 million acres burning that year. It was our worst fire season to date. I don’t think this one will even come close.
I’m off to read the article you supplied. I also found this an interesting read:

Monna M
Reply to  Angela
September 17, 2017 12:00 pm

Angela, we’ve had big fires in BC this year too. The cold front and accompanying rain were welcome and necessary, but we feel a little bummed because we basically missed summer this year – it was too smoky to go outdoors.

Reply to  Angela
September 17, 2017 12:42 pm

We had to cancel our family trip to Glacier Park mid-August due to the fires. I understand being bummed, we could hardly find time in between the smoky days to take a walk outside. The smoke affects more than just the heart and lungs. It’s been attributed to causing depression, because you have to holed up in your home, as well.

Reply to  Angela
September 17, 2017 7:32 pm

Side note: BC forest service said the primary cause of the fires this year was due to a very wet warm spring that caused tremendous growth of understory, followed by a hot dry summer that with lightening or careless people with fire, acted like tinder for the fires.

Reply to  Angela
September 17, 2017 7:37 pm

Please see my comment at 12:24.
The fire which closed I-84 in Oregon’s Columbia Gorge was started by idiotic teenagers playing with fireworks in the dry, heavily fueled forest, then spread by winds.

September 17, 2017 10:05 am

Fire is the the industry of the left. It does not add value to the economy. I’d have to say it’s time to lay off people at the BLM and let things land be grazed and logged. There is no environmental benefit to burning these acres. There is no beneficial management to this land from the BLM. The ranchers and loggers did a better job at being stewards of the environment.

September 17, 2017 10:06 am

How many “spotted owls” are saved in a forest fire? Maybe the loggers did a better job as stewards of the environment.

September 17, 2017 10:07 am

The current spate of forest fires are caused by, wait for it… a century of fire suppression. After the large fire season of 1911, the timber industry lobbied the United States government for a widespread program of fire suppression, to save the trees so they could be clearcut and turned into dollars for private profit.
A century later, we see massive forest fires burning through forests congested with undergrowth and detritus, all available as fuel because smaller fires were not allowed to clear the first floor in a natural patchwork pattern that reduces fuels loads and encouraged biodiversity.
Human economic policies, not environmentalists, are the cause of the fires we experience today.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 17, 2017 10:18 am

An interesting argument, except for the minor little fact that public lands have not been managed for forestry since at least the 1960’s. When, pray tell, was the Wilderness Act passed, and what is the rationale behind that legislation?

Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 17, 2017 10:56 am

Michael, are you familiar with USING FIRE to suppress larger fires?

Reply to  Michael A. Lewis
September 17, 2017 7:41 pm

That was a creative attempt at placing the blame on Evil Greedy Corporations but not very realistic. Fire suppression was begun as a response to human lives lost to forest fires. The concept was stopping fires would stop loss of lives to fires. No doubt it seemed like infallible logic.
Essentially everyone alive in the USA was raised with the idea that brush choked, dense forests that are prone to dangerous fires are natural and good. Even clearing a fire break around a home is outlawed in many communities as damaging that imagined natural wild environment.
Both loggers and environmentalists were creating problems in our forests for later generations but between the two, the loggers impact was trivial be comparison. Also, clear cutting was not a logging industry concept. It was forced upon them by the environmentalists of the time. They considered scraggly young trees and wood cutting detritus left laying around after logging as unsightly. Instead, the loggers were required to clear the land down to bare dirt and plant new seedlings.

September 17, 2017 10:18 am

While going to CU-Boulder in the middle 70’s the Pine Beetle problems was just getting started; or that’s how I remember it. There was a push to spray the forests to kill the beetle but the environmentalists were concerned for the non damaging insects. It was a legitimate concern but didn’t have much foresight.
No control of beetles was made on federal or state lands. If you owned forested land you could cut down an infected tree, chop it up, cover it with plastic and spray to kill the Pine Beetles. That was the extent of the effort allowed for the control of the Pine Beetle.
Now if you drive along I-70 west of Denver or up into Rocky Mountain National Park the devastation to our national forests is obvious and overwhelming. It is a wonder that there hasn’t been a forest fire consuming the entire mountain region of Colorado.
No lumbering has been allowed and there are no fire breaks. The fire load is immense and needs to be cleaned up. ASAP.
The environmentalists own this disaster.

Reply to  SMS
September 17, 2017 10:44 am

A mature pine forest causes a pine beetle infestation, because there is sufficient food and habitat for them to multiply exponentially. It would be like planting your garden all to cabbage, and then wonder why you get cabbage worm when it all matures at once. This stuff is very elementary truth, although some will exploit this and say this is all caused or exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels which a tax will fix.
One of the other often overlooked problems about the pine beetle, other than the myth that ‘global warming’ not allowing the cold winters to perpetually kill the beetles off, is that the lumber barons did not really want the pine, but rather, wanted the valley bottom Spruce and Fir, which are more valuable, and much more desirable wood to harvest and mill. This left a lot of pine forest to become over mature, causing the beetle problem. When we look back at large fire patterns throughout history, we usually see that is coincident with a forest becoming over mature which has a near 100% chance of burning at some point.

September 17, 2017 10:31 am

Here In Canada the greens have made fire fighting of forest fires a “Green” en-devour. Over the years they have forced more regulations on the forest fire fighting process so that when a fire threatens a community the only thing that happens is that the community is evacuated and left to burn most of the time. The left governments have reduced the funding to fire fighting and forest management as a yearly obsession. The use of fire retardant chemicals is shunned and fought in fire fighting due to the “damage” they do to the environment. The biggest water bomber in the world spent this record fire season not fighting forest fires but sitting on Sprout lake spinning around on its holding buoy. Why you ask? The Green’s have restricted it year after year on the number of lakes it can land to draw water from when it is in operation. There is no where it can operate in its home province where it would be effective. At the same time the regulations on forest “management” have been increased to where it is uneconomical to harvest timber that has matured. Pulp trees that are ready for harvest are now dying out to feed larger fires as dead wood instead of been harvested and replanted.

Reply to  Boris
September 17, 2017 11:44 am

A bit of forest fire history, and government incompetence.
I found an interesting letter, worth reading, in the Victoria Time Colonist, related to Boris’ comments on wildfires in British Columbia. The pine beetle epidemic could have been controlled but wasn’t. The government of the day surrendered to environmentalists, and stopped the harvest of the beetle infested wood.
And here we are today… with lots of dead trees burning.
Pine-beetle disaster could have been avoided

Terry Gednalske
September 17, 2017 10:31 am

The federal government is $20 trillion in debt, but is hoarding millions of acres of land. Why not sell or lease some of this land to business and individuals who can productively manage it while increasing GDP and tax revenues. At the very least, return federal lands to the states where local knowledge and interests can be applied in land management.

September 17, 2017 10:35 am

“New DOI and DOA policy to cut overgrown, diseased, dead and burned trees is long overdue.” Sorry — I thought you were speaking metaphorically…

September 17, 2017 11:03 am

“Western conflagrations jump fire breaks because these ferocious fires are fueled by the unprecedented increase in combustibles that radical green policies have created.”
too funny. there isnt any reliable science that ties anything about fires to either.
a. human activity that increases co2.
b. human activity that increases combustibles.
there have been fires before.
nothing unprecidented.
sound familiar

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 17, 2017 12:45 pm

That fire suppression over the last 100 years or so has increased the fuel load in the forests has been well documented for decades.
Unfortunately some people are so wedded to the notion that government can do no wrong, that they refuse to see the data in front of their face.

Bill Murphy
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 17, 2017 4:23 pm

RE:“too funny. there isnt any reliable science that ties anything about fires to either.
a. human activity that increases co2.
b. human activity that increases combustibles.”
Too funny is correct, but not the way you intended. Your “b” has been in the literature frequently for more than a century. Good luck finding a forester who is not aware of it. THAT consensus is probably 100%.
As for “a” the greening from CO2 and the extra understory clutter it will create in forests and the thickening of brushland fuels may turn out to be about the only real “C” in CAGW given that all that new growth will — someday — dry out. For an example of what happens then look up the Mann Gulch fire or the South Canyon Fire mentioned by the OP. Both of those tragedies were in brush, not forest. Yes, there have been fires before and will be again but AGW was not to blame in 1910 or 1949 or 1994 so what’s so special about 2017?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 17, 2017 5:09 pm

“Steven Mosher
too funny. there isnt any reliable science that ties anything about fires to either.”
There is in Australia because computer models are used to estimate fire risk. These models were initialised with almost no data and these same models are now used world wide. You think there is no link there? I think you should stick to what you know; English lit!

September 17, 2017 11:31 am

“The fires, which occur about once every seven years, are less severe, and tend to burn themselves out without interference. What’s more, the wilderness region, which used to be a continuous canopy of trees, has now turned into a patchwork of diverse vegetation — forest alternating with wetland.”
It was explained to me in Montana by some professor, that ideally the underbrush burns and the forest canopy does not. It is a large brush load that can reach the canopy that then burns like a crazy man. The small fires clear the brush load.
So it looks like do nothing, clear around houses, install sprinklers on houses and log some more for wood and profit. Wood is a valuable resource. Trump can do something with appointing judges and department heads.
It’s similar to the hurricane question. I want to live in a huge forest. Okay, put on your big boy pants and stop crying about fires.

September 17, 2017 11:38 am

i live in a county that is heavily populated and also heavily wooded, with breaks of open prairie grasslands. The attempt is to restore the oak savannahs and tallgrass and shortgrass prairie areas to what they once were by the parks district. There ARE controlled burns here every spring by the various fire departments, because there is enough housing to warrant using the controlled burns as training exercises.
Maybe I’m simply in a county that is better managed than some states where the Greenbeans haven’t gone bananas about Nature. Even so, where I live, you have to get a permit to burn the leaves rake up in your yard in the fall, notify the Fire Department, and have a hose hooked up nearby. It’s just some common sense at work. I do know that in other counties, if you wanted to have a bonfire in your back yard 10 years ago, nobody cared. Now, you have to notify your local Fire Department. The more people move out of the city to the suburbs, the more likely they are to start a wildfire by doing stupid things at a picnic in the forest preserve.
The idea that wood should not be burned, and underbrush should not be cleared out of forested areas, is just plain nuts. The people who make these rules and squawk about ‘the environment’ the loudest have the least understanding of any of it. They have no idea what the consequences are of their actions, and I think they don’t care, either, unless they are thrust into those consequences head first. And unless they’re stuck on a road surrounded by wildfires, they’ll never learn.

Reply to  Sara
September 17, 2017 12:24 pm

One reason for so many fires this year is that the winter and spring were so wet, producing lots of fuel, followed by a hot, dry summer.

Reply to  Sixto
September 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Summer in your area may have perhaps been hot and dry, but summer in MY area was NEITHER hot nor dry, sixto. Until a week ago, with the onset of Hurricane Irma’s influence driving hot air northward and pushing the jet stream further north, our summer was averaging 65F days and 45F to 55F nights, with plentiful rain.
The weather in July included the worst flooding on record, worse than 2004, closing down highways, local roads, bridges and underpasses, rail lines, and flooding entire villages. And yes, we got a large portion of Harvey’s wet stuff, too. The rains did not stop coming until Irma made landfall.
You falsely assume that summer weather in one place is mirrored everywhere else, which is completely NOT true. I record the daily weather and have been doing so for many years.
And since I track the weather and record it, I can back up what I’m saying. Is that clear?
Perhaps you fail to take into account the size of the North American continent and how its weather varies from one place to another.

Reply to  Sixto
September 17, 2017 7:32 pm

The fires are in the Pacific Northwest, California and Arizona. I accurately described the weather in the regions in which the fires occurred.
I’d have thought that obvious.

Reply to  Sixto
September 17, 2017 7:39 pm

And BC and Alberta Sixto. The BC Forest Service agrees with you by the way.

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Sixto
September 17, 2017 8:31 pm

Sarah, the wild fires under discussion are in the northwest, as in western Canada, Montana, Washington, and Oregon, where I Live. We indeed had a wet spring followed a dry summer, with many fires.
It sounds like you live near the Gulf coast. Has there been a problem with wild fires in your area?

Stevan Reddish
Reply to  Sixto
September 17, 2017 8:36 pm

It is so annoying when I start a reply, dawdle for a while before posting, then discover that others have thoroughly beat me to the punch while I dawdled.

Reply to  Sixto
September 18, 2017 12:23 pm

Wayne Delbeke September 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm
Geographically, if not politically, BC is part of the Pacific NW. I had it in mind, too, when referring to the region.
And Alberta of course is similar to the northern US Rocky Mountain states.

Reply to  Sixto
September 18, 2017 1:56 pm

Sixto and Steve Reddish – no, your location isn’t obvious. I never thought it a good idea to give away one’s location on the internet, because trolls like to track you.
Sorry for the misunderstanding.
I live in the upper Midwest, very close to but NOT ON Lake Michigan. Last summer was wet as a sponge. My lawn was soaked most of the time. This summer, we had regular rains up to almost exactly the day that Irma came ashore and haven’t had rain since then.
However, as I said, weather systems vary from one place to another. The Plains states like the Dakotas were being deluged in 2006, while the Cornbelt was suffering from a drought. This meant that in areas where excessive rain was soaking the soil, anthrax spores that had lain dormant for over 100 years suddenly came back to life, which is not unusual – very hardy critter, anthrax – and started infecting grazing cattle which had not been inoculated for it because it was thought to have been wiped out.
There were wildfires in western Nebraska due to that drought. The corn, wheat, and soybean crops in the Corn Belt were hammered from lack of rain. There was talk of another Dust Bowl, too, but the monsoon came out of the Gulf of Mexico just in time to stop that. There was some serious concern in many places that fireworks for July 4th might have to be canceled if they were not done on a water body like Lake Michigan.
You may or may not recall the 2006 Tripod Fire, too. That was blamed on an infestation of pine bark beetles and warm winters.
There isn’t any one thing that causes it, with the exception of arrogant mistakes by humans. By that, I mean not clearing out the trash undergrowth and just ‘letting it burn’.

September 17, 2017 12:14 pm

During the late 70’s-early 80’s I derived my living as a timber faller ie. lumber jack. I can certainly vouch for the accuracy of the essay. The environmentalists have certainly wrecked our national forests.
C’EST la Vie

Barry Sheridan
September 17, 2017 12:57 pm

The ideologies of well to do westerners appears to have consumed whatever common sense once existed amongst the hierarchy. As a result they have created one disaster after another in almost every sphere of life. Is there a solution to this, well perhaps, but it is going to take years of sensible judgement and decision making. Frankly I feel America and Europe lack the numbers of people with these qualities for realism to win, I do hope I am wrong. There seem to be far to many Mr Griff’s.

September 17, 2017 2:52 pm

The current situation is a horrible stew of really bad management decisions influence by many special interests The biggest remaining influence is the standard fire-suppression policy. That protected timber stands for logging interests. Unfortunately it lead to the build up fuel loads and forest structures that are dreadfully subject to fires. Working in the Sierra, there were stretches the fire management officers referred to as fire ladders. The mix of slash, low brush, understory and immature trees with mature trees creates a literal ladder a fire can climb into the forest crown. The practice of clear cutting was a monumental disaster for forest soils and was “remedied” by prescription slash scatter – essentially scatter all that fuel 24 inches or 18 inches deep over the clear cut. It sort of worked, until a fire came along. The truth is that western forest are fire-mediated ecologies and they developed into that apparently through millennia of Indian resource management practice (small scale burning to create clearing and maintain stands of useful plants).
Fully developed “old-growth” forests aren’t much good for anything but occasional spotted owls and timber, really nice timber. Nothing much lives in old growth. The animal biomass is very low. In contrast landslides and burn areas support high diversity, temporary communities that attract deer, elk and bear. The animal species balance shifts are these areas age. Dropping steadily to the low levels of old-growth forests where game mostly simply creates trails from clearing to clearing. More recent “environmental” concerns have combined with earlier economically founded management practices to create a “worst of all worlds” situation, partially through insisting on protecting “climax” forests which are largely mythological.
These forests need to burn. Unhappily fire suppression to protect timber and fuel load maintenance to “protect” habitat collectively are the worst possible choices for limiting the scale severity of fires.

Patrick MJD
September 17, 2017 5:04 pm

We need this in Australia.

Russ R.
September 17, 2017 7:20 pm

It takes the right conditions for an “out-of-control” wildfire. But those conditions will eventually occur. The key to forest management is burning off the undergrowth when conditions are not right for the wildfire. That way when the conditions are ripe, the fuel is missing, and it is like trying to start a fire without kindling.
Common sense has not been used in fire policy, because it is driven by those that live in Washington, and see forest management as “meddling in the natural process”.

September 18, 2017 2:47 am

The truth of forests is that they HAVE to burn often in order to clear out detritus and for some species of trees to have their seed pods cracked open by the heat of the fire to spread.
This whole “Don’t allow people to cut down deadwood!” was insane as well since clearing out deadwood prevents accidental injuries due to trees falling on hikers, prevents deadwood trees taking down power lines, etc.
In fact many tree species are only supposed to grow for at most 50-100 years and then they start slowly dying from the inside out.

September 18, 2017 4:03 am

Thus the Greens, sterilizing the planet one forest at a time.

September 18, 2017 9:35 am

Go to the Website, Sudden Oak Life, and look at the article on Redwood tree fire scars, and the Native Indian responsible fire actions. I remember the fire that burned all the way down the spine of Big Sur , from the back of Carmel, that wiped out the last Redwood stand near San Simeon..State Fire managers wouldn’t allow ranchers to clear burn undergrowth.. Same as what is going on now..

September 18, 2017 12:17 pm

The cold temperatures required to kill the pine beetle don’t actually occur often. During winter, the pine beetle hibernates, changing the water in it’s body to ethanol. To kill the beetle during it’s hibernation requires temps at minus 30 and colder for a contiguous two weeks. These temps are almost never seen in Colorado and other western US states.
Montana and North Dakota may see these temps for an extended period, but most states do not.
The stop all fires from burning policy has had more to do with the spread of the pine beetle than anything. Pine beetles start their borrowing into trees at less then five feet off the ground. This allows them to stay warmer and active in the winter. Preventing fires, particularly ground from spreading has allowed the pine beetle to spread further and faster than their historical range has been.
It might seem like a good idea to stop all fires and minimize their spread and damage, but nature abhors a vacuum and something will find home or food in the unburnt brush and build up which normally is burned away.

Joel Snider
September 18, 2017 12:25 pm

Here in Oregon, our Governor Kate Brown, basically let our forests burn down this summer – we’ve been in a smoke haze for going on a month, now.
They just started a recall petition over this very issue.
Fingers crossed.

September 18, 2017 2:05 pm

Where I live, there are patches of undeveloped land that could hold housing, but are allowed to just sit. Those patches are full of what I can rightfully say are invasive species like buckthorn, which is a UK import that spreads like a bad case of black mold. The birds love the seeds, which irritate their intestines, and are dropped everywhere. The undergrowth is so thick that you need a machete if you want to walk into it.
Since this is private land, not owned by the county, the owner has to be responsible for clearing out the trash growth. And whoever the owner is, he’s doing nothing. In a bad, dry summer, it’s a fire hazard. I suppose we can ask the county to clean it out, but the owner should be fined for letting it go.

September 18, 2017 2:36 pm

Several years ago talking with a forester (someone who went to school about forests) about the boreal forest, he said that the life cycle of the boreal forest requires every 80-120 years that the forest must be cut down or burn down. The forest also has a cycle of birth, growth, age, die. On a side note, the local National Park, where I lived at the time, did a wolf study, there were more wolves outside the park in the logging cuts, than inside the park. The wolves followed the moose who preferred the open spaces of the logging cuts with the new growth for eating.

September 18, 2017 2:41 pm

Environmentalists have a mindset where they can only see today. They have no view of the past, and no concept of the future.

September 20, 2017 1:39 pm

“Rural Lives Matter”
Thank you Paul Driessen. I was afraid that no one would pay any attention to the environmentalist mismanagement and burning of the Western forests, until some info babe started telling them it was a problem. And that was not going to happen.

Reply to  Zeke
September 20, 2017 1:42 pm

And praise God. We are getting rain after a fire burned 40,000 acres along the Columbia Gorge, in our prettiest and healthiest forests. #EagleCreekFire

Reply to  Zeke
September 20, 2017 1:51 pm

Which resulted not from “climate change” but from feral teenagers.

September 20, 2017 2:29 pm

It was teenagers throwing fire crackers. But it was also Oregon fiddling while the fire spread.

September 22, 2017 6:22 am

From MG games Ariana looks interesting only.Stickers…Will see, after Dracula i am not sure in anything.

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