Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Ivan Kinsman – According to The Guardian, if you don’t mend your wicked ways you will burn in climate driven hellfire. But the Guardian fails to identify the true culprits behind USA’s devastating wildfires.
This is what our future looks like – Hellfire
by John Vaillant • Photography by Tim Hussin
The worst case scenario plays out the same way everywhere, whether you are in southern California or northern Alberta. A nascent wildfire – driven by extreme heat, high winds, drought conditions and a century of largely successful fire suppression – explodes into a juggernaut and takes over the countryside.
Any houses in the way are simply more fuel. Preheated to 500C by the 100ft flames of the advancing blaze, homes don’t so much catch on fire as explode into flames. In a dense neighborhood, many homes may do this simultaneously. The speed of ignition shocks people – citizens and firefighters alike – but it is only the beginning.
Because the temperatures achievable in an urban wildfire are comparable to those in a crucible, virtually everything is consumed as fuel. What doesn’t burn, melts: steel car chassis warp and bend while lesser metals – aluminum engine blocks, magnesium wheels – will liquify.
What do you call something that behaves like a tornado but is made of fire?
Wildfire scientists bridle at the term “fire tornado”; they prefer “fire whirl”, but “fire whirl” seems inadequate to describe something that built its own weather system seven miles high. In 1978, meteorologist David Goens devised a classification system that placed fire whirls of this magnitude in the “fire storm” category, along with the caveat that: “This is a rare phenomenon and hopefully one that is so unlikely in the forest environment that it can be disregarded.”
This was 40 years ago. So what has changed?
For one, the addition of a new verb to the wildfire lexicon. “Natural fire never did this,” explained Gyves. “It shouldn’t moonscape.” But now it does. It is alarming to consider that this annihilating energy arrived out of thin air, born of fire and fanned by an increasingly common combination of triple-digit heat, single-digit humidity, high fuel loads, dying trees and the battling winds that swirl daily through the mountains and valleys all over California and the greater west.
There was a time not so long ago, when a fire like this one, which forced the evacuation of 40,000 people and burned nearly 1,000 sq km across two counties, might have been a monstrous anomaly, but now, says Jonathan Cox, a Cal Fire battalion chief: “The anomalies are becoming more frequent and more deadly.”
While I feel for the people who have lost everything, its important to identify the real cause of their misery, to avoid wasting resources chasing phantoms.
Decades of forest mismanagement by green politicians is what caused this, not climate change.
Back in August, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke identified the real culprits behind these disasters.
Wildfires seem unstoppable, but they can be prevented. Here’s how.
Ryan Zinke, Opinion contributor Published 6:00 a.m. ET Aug. 8, 2018
Actively managing our forests benefits the environment, the economy, and most important, it saves lives.
The flames of the Ferguson Fire in California have become the latest symbols of a seemingly perennial challenge of fighting fires in the West. I just returned from the Ferguson Fire camp, where I met with firefighters who are working to combat the fire as it bears down on Yosemite National Park and its visitors, workers and nearby residents.
Why we need to manage our forests
There are three reasons for active forest management:
First, it is better for the environment to manage the forests. Wildfires produce smoke and emissions. The release of gases and particles can negatively affect air quality. Fires also damage watersheds, and as we see fires burning hotter and longer, the soil is actually becoming scorched and sterilized, preventing regrowth. In addition, while many of the frivolous lawsuits waged to stop timber harvests cite habitat as a concern, environmental litigants are little concerned when an entire forest burns to the ground and the habitat and wildlife are lost.
Second, active forest management is good for the economy. Logs come out of the forest in one of two ways: They are either harvested sustainably to improve the health and resilience of the forest (while creating jobs), or they are burned to the ground. Jobs matter, and logging has long been a cornerstone of rural economies. Fortunately for all, these economic benefits go hand-in-hand with our goal of healthy forests.
Third, and most important, the active management of our forests will save lives. The Carr Fire in northern California has already claimed half a dozen lives, and the Ferguson Fire has taken the lives of two firefighters. Sadly, these are not the only wildfire casualties this year.
Every year we watch our forests burn, and every year there is a call for action. Yet, when action comes, and we try to thin forests of dead and dying timber, or we try to sustainably harvest timber from dense and fire-prone areas, we are attacked with frivolous litigation from radical environmentalists who would rather see forests and communities burn than see a logger in the woods.
In my dry, fire prone native Australia even green governments usually actively manage our forests. They don’t really want to – every so often one of them backslides – but in Australia the consequences of poor forest management are so immediate and devastating, voters take an active interest in reminding politicians what will happen if they fail this most basic duty.
Forest management works. Its really very simple – if there is nothing to burn, there can be no fire.
Active forest management means ensuring adequate fire breaks, to prevent fires from spreading, good access roads so firefighters can rapidly reach and control any fires which do occur, and regular controlled burnoffs of excess fuel to reduce the intensity of any fires which do occur.
Unfortunately in the USA greens have gotten away with mismanagement of forests a lot longer than could ever happen in Australia. Innocent US families are now bearing the cost of decades of green policy failures – while greens try to deflect responsibility for their own mistakes and mismanagement by blaming climate change.