Cal Fire report pinpoints thinning of forests to reduce Ca. wildfire risks

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

A new February 22, 2019 report was issued by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) which announces a plan that the state of California needs to implement to address forest management and community development actions required immediately to accomplish reductions in risks of future wildfires. 

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Specifically the report notes that: “an epidemic of dead and dying trees, and the proliferation of new homes in the wildland urban interface (WUI) magnify the threat and place substantially more people and property at risk than in preceding decades.”

The report contains a prioritized listing of recommendations requiring implementation including suspending regulatory requirements to allow these fuel reduction projects to be completed in 2019, enable the increased use of prescribed fires to thin out dense brush areas, set specific priorities for removal of dead trees and excessive forest undergrowth needed to reduce fuel and restore forest health, etc.

Additionally the report identifies 35 specific high priority fuel reduction areas in the state meriting immediate action that cover more than 90.000 acres of forest lands.

The report notes that more than 25 million acres of California wild lands are identified as being under very high or extreme fire threat and extending those risk assessments to cover over half the state.

Further the report estimates that as many as 15 million acres of California forest need some form of restoration.

The ability to achieve the reports actions will require priority funding of these initiatives by the Governor and Legislature as well as the cooperation and support from dozens of state agencies and regulatory bodies that are identified in the report.

The AP article discussing the new Ca. Fire report notes the criticism by President Trump of the states forest management polices noting: “Republican President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized California’s Democratic officials for not doing a good enough job managing its forests and has threatened to cut off California’s federal disaster funding.”

Many of the states government and political leaders as well as newspapers like the Los Angeles Times have tried to blame nebulous “climate change” as an excuse for California’s recent wildfires and even criticized those addressing California’s poor forest management and community development policies as being huge contributors to these wildfires. The Cal Fire report clearly lays out actions steps that deal with and address new forest management and community development actions that are required to be undertaken.

The Cal Fire report can be found here and is well worth reading. 

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63 thoughts on “Cal Fire report pinpoints thinning of forests to reduce Ca. wildfire risks

  1. Unless California stops rolling over for the green NGO’s, nothing constructive will get done. As most of them are opposed to lumbering, any forest management program will draw their opposition.

    • Perhaps the next step would then be to include them in any Fire Litigation as Ad-Hoc defendants for contributory negligence…That might help to mute their overzealous murmerings

      • Bingo, Bryan! I have advocated for that for some time. The Sierra Club should be as much a defendant as PG&E. The former created the conditions that apparently allowed a shorted transformer to start such a conflagration.

    • Hell man, let them protest their lungs out! What are people scared of in dealing with this ugliness. Invite the families and friends that environmentalists have killed over the years. Invite Jerrycan Brown out to face them. His ilk rejoiced over yhe gires becausr he could use these deaths to promote his Climate scam agenda.

    • It’s easy to talk about the lumber industry and forest management, but millions of acres of the west have no trees but is still incredibly fire prone. Some of the worst fires I have seen raced through brush and grass burning 10’s of thousands of acres in hours. Southern California, isn’t exactly prime timber farming country.

      • The chapparal in Southern California should be regularly burned off, and/or grazed. However, the greens oppose both of those activities, too, and will go to court to stop them.
        On the federal level, a Carter era executive order vastly expanded the opportunities for invoking the Clean Air Act, among others. Until either the law or the order is changed, the green blob will always be in the way.

    • More like 30 or more

      Thinning and controlled burning used to occur frequently to reduce the possibility of a wildfire AND encourage new growth, especially in the Redwood Forest, but then people scared of fire freaked out and thought it was “killing” the trees, without realizing that redwoods in particular require a hot fire to open the cone and spread the seeds.

      NOT all FIRE IS BAD is the lesson here and they are just now coming to realize that….too late.

  2. They don’t say it with so many words but it is crystal clear the the POTUS was spot on.

    But you won’t find that in the NYT.

      • Which (rakes) are used among other things in Finland and other forested countries. You have to love Trump. He doesnt walk on eggshells. They would never have been emboldened to write this report were it not for Trump.

        We need his kind in state governments, too, for a couple of generations to get reality re-established in America. There are young adults who have no idea how lost they are to wifty poofty fantasyland.

  3. Wouldn’t that be great if they can implement this and there be a sharp reduction in big fires.

  4. About 4 decades late, and if they don’t include selective harvesting of commercial timber and a revitalization of the forest products industry they will not be able to sustain the program financially, but at least they have acknowledged the correct cause.

    • Is revitalization even possible? After so many decades of being shut out of state lands, are there enough lumberjacks in California, or even the West Coast, to clear any significant percentage of the targeted timber before the next big fire?

      • Mark the trees to be removed and sell the right to remove it to a local resident for a modest fee. It works in the Southern Sierra and the mountains south of Lake Isabella in California.

    • While I agree that the state (and the federal government that owns most of the public lands in the state) could do a much better job managing the forests, I think that the huge decline in demand for forest products has had a bigger impact of the timber industry than anything else. People are buying composite siding and plastic deck chairs to put on their recycled plastic decks. They are sending e-mails instead of buying paper and they are using propane and natural gas to heat their homes. Capitalism is really what’s killed the timber industry.

          • Yes you do since most of their sole called furnaces give about as much heat as a candle. The coldest week I spent was a week in Los Angles in January.

      • No it was excess regulation and the green putting million of acres out of reach. One such example the
        Spotted Owl, as subspecies of the Barred owl who invaded the Spotted Owl territory displacing them. Instead admitting the real problem the blamed logging, which they used the Spotted Owl to shut logging down.

      • A couple of years ago the U.S. imported over $14 billion of lumber productd and with the recent housing boom that figure has probably gone up.
        For agricultural products the mantra is to buy local. Why not the same for lumber?

      • The decline in logging in California started on federal lands in the early 90s due to restrictions imposed by the spotted owl. Private lands were also hit, though not as hard. The decline was made up for by imports from Canada and Asia.

        The size of destructive wildfires then began an inevitable uptick about 10 years later as the fuel load started to increase.

    • Forest products? Couldn’t they chop up the trees to send to the UK or EU for burning as ‘carbon free’ power station fuel? /sarc

  5. A major issue is that most of the land needing attention is managed by the federal government. Getting the state and feds to cooperate won’t be easy, but they desperately need to do so.

  6. Let the logging industry pay for it via a tiny per board/ft surcharge. The harvesters, would still make money, CA would make money , and the woods would be healthier and safer.

    • Helocopter harvest all the dead wool, convert those into pellets, and sell them to the DRAX plants abroad at a premium.

      • I suggested wood burning powerplants for California some time ago. Not cost effective purely as a method of generating electricity, but a way of making some income from thinning the forests. Also the eco-loons who are opposed to felling trees could be overruled in the name of preventing climate change.

        • In total agreement. I would even extend it to include biomass from shrubs and undergrowth. It wouldn’t be a huge money maker but it would be a renewable source of energy and it wouldn’t pollute nearly as much as controlled burns.

    • What logging industry?

      Exploiting nature like that is banned in the Democratic People’s Republic of Kalifornia.

    • Doesn’t matter where the money comes from, environmentalist will keep any attempt at thinning tied up in the courts for decades to the point we don’t need to budget any money for tree removal anytime soon. It’ll take a law change to prevent groups from tying projects up for years on end in our courts then that law itself will have to survive years long legal challenges against it.

  7. They still use the old excuse “While wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the fire season in California and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year. Climate change is considered a key driver of this trend. Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced snowpack,and earlier spring snow melt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make forests more susceptible to severe wildfire. The length of fire season is estimated to have increased by 75 days across the Sierras and seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state.”

    The references for that are dated 2016 and have been clearly disproved by the last 2 years weather.

    • Really, the Campfire came at a time when fall rains would normally have started but last year they were late?

    • It depends on what the advocacy commanders say to their troops and political stooges.

  8. Mother Nature used to to take care of things naturally, by burning itself when fuel loads and weather conditions were ripe. It is all mostly a co-evolved fire scape ecology. For millions of years. If we are now not willing to try and mimic Mother Nature to some degree with some selective management and thinning including the use of fire when the impact would be lowest, then there is no hope and Mother Nature will just burn it anyway. Along with all of us that are in the way. This isn’t a democratic exercise anymore where the will of the majority that may be ill informed just get their way and that was what was right for the environment. This is a time for true leadership to do the proper thing and intervene with the best tools and management that we have. Humans now have to co-evolve with the forest and the brush, and do what works. Or it will just be failure after failure with epic fires, while stomping their feet, waving their arms, and blaming it all on climate change. That is a real cop-out.

  9. “the proliferation of new homes in the wildland urban interface (WUI)” compounds the risk. Once homes begin being built in fire-prone areas, it then becomes necessary to extinguish those regular naturally occurring fires that previously would have been allowed to burn themselves out given no infrastructure was in danger.

  10. It was self evident what the problem was. There could be 1000 reports with these same conclusions and it won’t stop the charlatans from pushing their warmist propaganda. Future generations will never hear about this report. Just like this generation doesn’t hear about previous warm periods or failed predictions from the past.

  11. Will this even get a mention in the biographies of Jerry Brown?

    I guess not if even in current events it falls under “he who must not be named” status.

  12. In the 1970s, CA undertook two major policy goals. The first was to cancel all new reservoir dams and flood control projects then underway. The second was to regulate the timber and forestry industry out of existence. Now they have wildfires, water shortages and flooding. what could be the cause of these disasters, the people of CA ask? Could it be Climate Change?
    NO!

    Be Careful!
    The water shortages and fires are due to Global Warming.
    The floods and mudslides are caused by Climate Change.
    Everybody take care to keep the causes correct. After all, the politicians must never be linked to the results of their policies.

    “the cooperation and support from dozens of state agencies and regulatory bodies that are identified in the report”
    Good grief. How many taxpayer funded regulators are there, all with a finger in this pie?

    I can make a prophesy for the future:
    1) All the usual actors will scream bloody murder over this report.
    2) The politicians will respond to the radicals and the agencies will stonewall.
    3) Nothing will happen.

    CA will demonstrate that they have learned nothing. It will become clear that they are incapable of learning.

  13. Another indication that actual adults are beginning to step up in Cali. Way to late to save thousands of lives. Thats OK, leftartded environazis want people killed. Just look at their obsession with killing black and brown babies. ‘nough said.

    • No, the headline says “Is Trump right when he blames forest managers?” note the question mark.

      The article blames climate change.

  14. The very FIRST thing that should be done, and done immediately, is to clearcut and KEEP clear everything within a quarter mile of any power lines running through the forest. THAT should have been standard operating procedure years ago and the expense included as part of the cost of moving power to the cities. In otherwords, and includable expense in PG&E’s budget. Building forest roads to be able to do that should also be included.

    • Wrong it depends on the powerline, if a power transmission line it needs a wide space. If it power line furnishing a home not so much. In any case all powerlines need to have the clear space below them.

    • Plant crops along right of ways, that takes care of trees growing there fairly handily, and would help pay for clearing the sections to steep to use for crops.

    • Which will mean that you’ll have a quarter mile wide swath of brush growing there which is what catches fire!

  15. Frankly a lot of the problem can be corrected by requiring 30% more transmission towers and paving a 150′ wide swath under lines in compression wind zones.

    What I find funny is that there are quite a few people who own large sections of land who actually implement the Federal standards for land management and haven’t lost their houses.

  16. Two points, those who chose to live in “Green” timber areas should be forced to pay a high premium on either their Insurance, or perhaps a better way, to pay the Emergency Fire service year by year.

    Another idea is that every declared Greenie should be drafted into the bushfire fighting units. A taste of what the real world is like may actually penetrate their brain cells.

    MJE

  17. There are probably major lessons to be learned from mainland China. It is 25 years since I was out in their western provinces, so actions might have changed, but I saw and was told by advisor botanists that China used personal landholder responsibility with labour to reduce fire fuel around towns and in forests.
    Not suggesting USA has similar population density, but maybe training fit young people to clean up forest litter is a better way to go than street protests that someone should do something. Geoff

    • One word. Convict Labor. Instead of locking up non-violent criminals put them to work. Does not have to be chain gangs, several states use it without physical restraints for roadside litter cleanup. Make it a sentencing option, go to prison for 10 years or work in forestry labor for 3. All the people clamoring for young people to do a term of civil service instead of a draft should be all in for that civil service being done to work on fire prevention. Lots of options, all of which the political left will refuse out of hand.

  18. There are probably major lessons to be learned from mainland China. It is 25 years since I was out in their western provinces, so actions might have changed, but I saw and was told by advisor botanists that China used personal landholder responsibility with labour to reduce fire fuel around towns and in forests.
    Not suggesting USA has similar population density, but maybe training fit young people to clean up forest litter is a better way to go than street protests that someone should do something. Geoff

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