Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Dr. Willie Soon / Daily Caller – After weeks of climate change rhetoric, California Governor Jerry Brown has decided to do something practical to reduce Californian fire risk, by proposing a relaxation of regulations governing logging and tree thinning.
California fires: Governor proposes easing logging rules to thin forests
By PAUL ROGERS | firstname.lastname@example.org | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: August 23, 2018 at 4:14 pm | UPDATED: August 24, 2018 at 4:27 am
Faced with the worst summer fire season in 10 years, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing broad new changes to California’s logging rules that would allow landowners to cut larger trees and build temporary roads without obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests across the state.
The proposal — which has the support of the timber industry but is being opposed by more than a dozen environmental groups — would represent one of the most significant changes to the state’s timber harvesting rules in the past 45 years.
The legislative session ends for the year next Friday. On Thursday, the details were still being negotiated by legislative leaders and the governor’s office behind the scenes and had not yet been formally introduced in a bill or put up for a vote.
“They are trying to get to some kind of a deal,” said Rich Gordon, the president of the California Forestry Association, a timber industry group. “They are looking at what can get done politically.”
Under Brown’s proposal, private landowners would be able to cut trees up to 36 inches in diameter — up from the current 26 inches — on property of 300 acres or less without getting a timber harvest permit from the state, as long as their purpose was to thin forests to reduce fire risk. They also would be able to build roads of up to 600 feet long without getting a permit, as long as they repaired and replanted them.
Timber industry officials say the changes are needed to cut red tape and increase incentives for landowners, particularly in the Sierra Nevada, to thin pine and fir forests that have become dangerously overgrown after 100 years of fire fighting.
Governor Brown’s proposal comes in the wake of harsh criticism of the role radical greens have played in obstructing sensible forest management.
In my opinion there is no doubt of a direct connection between senseless environmental obstructionism perpetrated by radical greens, and the unnecessary deaths of people caught in fires made worse because of that green obstructionism.
Regardless of whether climate change is contributing to California’s fires, improved forest management will mitigate the risk. If there is no timber or vegetation to burn, there can be no fire.
Cutting fire breaks, cutting access roads, performing more controlled burns, thinning dead wood just waiting to go up like a torch, reduces the risk of fires getting out of control, reduces the intensity of wildfires if they do get out of control, and makes it easier for firefighters to regain control of large fires.
Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal is a good start – but I suspect a lot more will have to be done, and fast, to undo the harm done by decades of mismanagement, red tape and green obstructionism.
Update (EW): added extra highlighting to the quoted article – more than a dozen environmental groups are opposed to relaxation of logging regulations.