Gavin Newsom’s Exceedingly Ignorant Climate Claim

Guest post by Jim Steele

Scientific evidence reveals there has been no climate effect regards California’s wildfires! None! The data below proves it beyond all doubt. There is no denying that warmer temperatures can cause drier fuels and promote larger fires. But that fact is being misapplied to all wildfires. About 70% of California’s 2020 burnt areas have been in grasslands and dead grass is so dry by the end of California’s annual summer drought that dead grasses are totally insensitive to any added warmth from climate change. Dead grasses only require a few hours of warm dry conditions to become highly flammable. It’s fire weather not climate change that is critical. Furthermore, the century trends in local temperatures where California’s biggest fires have occurred reveal no connection to climate change. In most cases the local maximum temperatures have been cooler now than during the 1930s. Those cooler temperatures should reduce the fire danger. Newsom is either ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, is totally stupid, or is a dishonest demagogue.

Maximum temperatures are typically used by fire indexes to issue red flag warnings because it is the heat of midday that has the greatest drying effect. Minimum temperatures are often low enough to drop below the dewpoint at which time fuel moisture increases. So averaging minimum and maximum temperatures is inappropriate. In addition, referencing a higher global average temperature is meaningless. Only local maximum temperatures determine the dryness of surface fuels during every fire. As in Park and Abatzoglou 2019, the months of March through October are averaged to determine maximum temperatures during California’s dry season.

Here are some relevant facts (from the Western Regional Climate Center).  Trust the scientific evidence

1) The August 2013 Rim Fire centered around Yosemite National Park, was California’s 5th largest fire.

2) The November 2018 Camp Fire was California’s deadliest fire destroying the town of Paradise. It was also its 16th largest fire.

3) The 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire was California’s largest fire (since 1932 excluding 2020) .

4) In the October 2017 wine country fires, the Tubbs Fire was the 4th deadliest. It only burned 37,000 acres but high winds drove embers into the dwellings of the heavily populated outskirts of Santa Rosa.

Governor Newsom ignores the data to disgustingly hijacking the tragedy of California’s fires to push is climate change agenda. But he is not alone. There are climate scientists pushing catastrophes by ignoring the local maximum temperature trends. Bad analyses promote bad policies and obscure what needs to be done regards fuel management and creating defensible spaces in fire prone California. Newsom must focus on fuel management and fire suppression. As fire ecologist Thomas Swetnam echoed the experts’ growing consensus against fire suppression wrote, “The paradox of fire management in conifer forests is that, if in the short term we are effective at reducing fire occurrence below a certain level, then sooner or later catastrophically destructive wildfires will occur. Even the most efficient and technologically advanced firefighting efforts can only forestall this inevitable result.”

Further information about California’s wildfires are

Why Worse Wildfires – part 1

Why Worse Wildfires?  Part 2

Minimizing California Wildfires

Wildfires: Separating Demagoguery from the Science

 How Bad Science & Horrific Journalism Misrepresent Wildfires and Climate

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

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September 14, 2020 6:14 am

I just heard the next term that will be used: “Climate Fires”. Wonder how long it will take for the memo to get circulated?

Reply to  rbabcock
September 14, 2020 7:40 am

I’ve already seen “global arson”.

Steve Case
Reply to  rbabcock
September 14, 2020 8:45 am

rbabcock September 14, 2020 at 6:14 am

I just heard the next term that will be used: “Climate Fires”. Wonder how long it will take for the memo to get circulated?

The memo is probably already being circulated. Here’s a Kip Hansen Post from 19 June 2019:
A National Narrative for Media on Climate Change
to illustrate the fact that emails are sent around promulgating the narrative.

Bill Powers
Reply to  rbabcock
September 14, 2020 10:23 am

It has already been circulated. They just need time to beat the drum and turn up the volume on the propaganda machine.

M Seward
Reply to  rbabcock
September 14, 2020 10:28 am

Down in Oz we had a very similar extreme fire season starting about a year ago now and as expected the zealots and cover uppers all started talking about ‘climate change’ as in your CAGW form. The reality was that in a land “of droughts and flooding rains” as one of our poets put it decades ago, a) it was coming into the spring-summer fire season b) our eucalyp dominated landscape replenishes by fire even in alpine, snow affected areas, c) we had just had a major east coast drought due to the interaction of El Nino-La Nina (opposite affect to the western US) and an extreme Indian Ocean Dipole phases.

Add to that a common problem of large numbers of ‘tree changers’ building houses in fire prone areas with little risk mitigation against fire as well as restrictive tree clearing green tape not to mention that old stalwart poorly aintained power lines and who needs CAGW to set off a literal firestorm. It would have happened even if there was global cooling going on such as the humanophobes feared in the 70’s.

Compae the above rational take on things to the glib, made for media spin ball rhetoric of ‘fires caused by climate change’ and you know which one will get the attentiona of the breathless, media talking head to camera, live on site at the firefront bringing us the sexed up nonsense referred to as ‘news’.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  M Seward
September 14, 2020 8:37 pm

“El Nino-La Nina (opposite affect to the western US)”

There isn’t really a “standard” effect anywhere. Both can bring warm/dry/wet/cool weather.

Jack Lifton
September 14, 2020 6:15 am

Politicians, Democrats in particular, like to blame their failures on others. Newsom is particularly noisome in this regard. He is either just ignorant, or, perhaps, an opportunist (as well as an ignoramus). California has descended into a lowest common denominator state ruled by imbecile hereditary princes. When it runs out of money and the patience of the herd is exhausted look for anarchy.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jack Lifton
September 15, 2020 7:34 am

Yes. It’s difficult to tell if these people really believe the nonsense they’re spewing, or are just doing it to control the populace, or increase taxes dramatically, or both.

Walter Sobchak
September 14, 2020 6:18 am

“Newsom is either ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, is totally stupid, or is a dishonest demagogue.”

Por que no los tres?

Jim Steele
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 14, 2020 8:53 am

I tend to favor all three.

Another piece of scientific evidence alarmists are ignoring was generated by SciFi writer Ry Bradbury’ s Fahrenheit 451 and book burning. That prompted people to test that temperature. What people found is it takes a slightly higher temperature ,around 481, to ignite paper. But the fire generates its own heat so that at the center of a paper fire temperatures reach 1600 F degrees or more.

Regards wildfires, once grass. and shrubs are ignited, the 2 degrees of warming global temperatures, relative to 1600 F of generated temperatures, are totally insignificant to the spread of wildfire

Anthony M Cooke
Reply to  Jim Steele
September 14, 2020 11:17 pm

Australia’s CSIRO has done extensive research into wildfires (we call them bushfires) and has found that once the dry vegetation load exceeds about 2 kg/m2 or about 1 pound/sq ft, fires are essentially unstoppable. I did a little research into the literature of tree fall and having a farm and some familiarity with grasslands for grazing and I found that only 2-3 years growth is necessary to accumulate this load on the ground. This allows for vegetation fall, removal by animals and rotting of the fallen vegetation.
This might seem strange that fires are unstoppable but it really means that once the fire gets going it generates so much heat that it is not possible to put enough water on it to put it out except locally. Having been a volunteer fire fighter (granted with not much experience) I can confirm that this is the case. So you try to contain the fire until it runs into a barrier such as a lake or creek or similar and /or wait for a weather change to put it out or blow it back into previously burnt country.
As you point out once the fire is started, the heat of combustion generates temperatures far in excess of normal atmospheric temperatures and the starting temperature is irrelevant. The water content of the vegetation is what prevents it from igniting and high water content means that the source of ignition has to provide enough heat to evaporate the water so that the dry vegetation catches fire. Temperature affects drying but like everything else it is self limiting with more time required to reduce water content the drier the material becomes.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jim Steele
September 15, 2020 7:40 am

“Regards wildfires, once grass. and shrubs are ignited, the 2 degrees of warming global temperatures, relative to 1600 F of generated temperatures, are totally insignificant to the spread of wildfire”

WA Gov Jay Inslee says that the climate in Washington has already changed, making grasses drier than they were before, well I don’t know when, maybe before November 2016.

He is willfully ignorant of the history of his own state. 100 years ago, annual acres burned were 10 times what they are today. Smoke was the norm, not the exception. As for dry grass, that happens every summer out here in the PNW. I live west of the Cascades right on Puget Sound, and we get about 10″ less annual rainfall than Dallas (I know, hard to believe). In the summer, it’s not unusual to go 2+ months with no rain at all. My grass ALWAYS goes dormant and is a tinderbox. This year, early summer was wetter than usual, so the brown grass didn’t occur until about a month later than “normal”.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
September 14, 2020 9:00 pm

To find out which, one should simply quiz Governor Newsom:
If we were to implement your Climate Change agenda, how many years would it take to cause a meaningful reduction in fire risk?
If we were to implement aggressive forest management, how many years would it take?

Reply to  Paul Johnson
September 17, 2020 1:16 pm

Masterful question sir!

September 14, 2020 6:20 am

Blaming climate change just means “You’re to blame not us” says Gavin.

Climate change means these palookas can just abdicate all responsibility which is always the plan.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Keitho
September 14, 2020 11:23 am

Do tell us, governor Gavin, assuming atmospheric CO2 has anything to do with the ignition of wildfires, do those that account in your mind for such California ‘climate change’ fires happen to include Communist Chinese regimes that have continued to build coal fired electric generation plants by the dozens? And just how does that actually compare in proportion to any similar American contribution to that presumed problem for several decades now? So whatever are you talking about (and more twisted yet not bringing to notice) even when you address the nonsense you have allowed to take root within your own cranium?

Reply to  Keitho
September 14, 2020 2:47 pm

The thing I don’t understand is – is it murder or manslaughter these nincompoops are pretending they didn’t do?

Jim Steele
September 14, 2020 6:23 am

MOD. Please correct my typo, The phrase “to push is climate change agenda” should read ” to push his”

September 14, 2020 6:24 am

If people would stop starting the fires in the first place…..

Reply to  Latitude
September 14, 2020 6:35 am

Guy gets arrested for arson using molotov cocktail, gets released, starts 6 more fires.

Suspect Starts Six More Brush Fires, Faces Additional Charges

Steve Case
Reply to  icisil
September 14, 2020 7:19 am

icisil September 14, 2020 at 6:35 am
From your link:

He was issued citations for 6 additional counts of Reckless Burning.

They couldn’t bring themselves to call it arson. Actually terrorism would be more accurate.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 14, 2020 9:29 am

I’d go with attempted murder at a minimum.

I’d charge the folks in the legal system who let they fellow go with negligence and hold them accountable for the costs associated with the other 5 arsons.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 15, 2020 8:40 am

Reckless burning is a campfire too close to other combustible materials. This is arson.

Reply to  icisil
September 14, 2020 7:56 am

Sounds like the DAs in many Democrat cities. Releasing rioters without charges as fast as the police can haul them in.

Reply to  icisil
September 14, 2020 8:34 am

FBI says Antifa not implicated. Apparently, this will be true no matter how many Antifa sympathizers are arrested for starting fires.

Ruby's Dad
Reply to  Spetzer86
September 14, 2020 10:49 am

Looks like he’s some crazy homeless dude…not to say that he couldn’t be a crazy homeless antifa dude:

From my experience a lot of these antifa morons are mentally ill, although if you spend much time in downtown Portland it can be hard to keep all the crazy people on the streets straight so who knows…

Reply to  Ruby's Dad
September 14, 2020 11:55 am

scrolling down on your link gets me to a photo of Tommy Chong.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Ruby's Dad
September 16, 2020 12:09 pm

“From my experience a lot of these antifa morons are mentally ill”

I would say most of them are mentally ill. The Democrats have enabled the psychopaths and given them a target for their innate violence and hatred.

It’s kind of like with the Islamic Terror Army. I imagine every muslim sociopath in the world went to join up as that was just what they were looking for: a way to express the violence they felt inside while not fearing prosecution and they might even be praised for being particularly evil.

The one good thing about the Islamic Terror Army is they got all the psychopaths in one place where we were able to eliminate most of them from the Earth. Trump saved a lot of people a lot of trouble by wiping out the Islamic Terror Army. The bunch he eliminated don’t get to go out and harrass innocent people anymore.

He may have to repeat that if the psychopaths on the Left in the United States get together to do violence. Although, I think their numbers are much less that some fear. I think those Leftist who would actually get out and commit violence are a much smaller number than those who claim they would. Talk is cheap.

Reply to  icisil
September 15, 2020 7:25 am

So, it is possible to “arrest” Climate Change

Jim Steele
Reply to  Latitude
September 14, 2020 7:52 am

I wrote an article last year for the CO2 Coalition titled 5 Ways to Reduce Wildfire Risk in California in which I focused on arson reporting,

“According to the U.S. Fire Administration (, arson accounts for 20% of California’s fires, 55% of Kentucky’s and is the leading cause of Florida’s fires. More resources are needed to address the arson problem as well as increasing current public education programs to reduce negligent fires”

Reply to  Latitude
September 14, 2020 9:21 am

Due to global warming people are more uncomfortable outdoors and they cause more trouble. Those in the city attack police cars and loot stores. Those in the country start fires. You might not think a few tenths of a degree warming would change people, but just a tenth of a degree can change a soft spoken, peaceful young man into participating in a riot, or arson.

Of course president Trump is responsible for climate change, the peaceful riots and Covid19
too, at least according to Sleepy Joe Biden.

Reply to  Richard Greene
September 14, 2020 6:43 pm


Sean Postlewaite
September 14, 2020 6:29 am

The wildfires were also stimulated by increased rate of Arson. Ten to Twelve people have been arrested for arson along the West coast. I’m sure there are more people who haven’t been caught. Another anomaly is that fires swiftly diminish at the Canadian border.

Reply to  Sean Postlewaite
September 14, 2020 6:44 am

Locals in rural areas are fighting back: patrols, posted signs that arsonists/looters will be shot, citizen arrests.

Curious George
Reply to  Sean Postlewaite
September 14, 2020 9:05 am

Canadian border? Is that where climate change stops?

September 14, 2020 6:29 am

The decline of science education and critical thinking does serve to support political spin in this case. California is ripe for this excuse.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 19, 2020 11:21 pm

ResourceGuy, Yes, decline of science education and critical thinking coupled with willful disregard of readily available information via the internet gets us blow hard corrupt politicians that appeal to the ignorant. Here in California this “perfect storm” has devolved into a one party system without any of the necessary checks and balances for a functional government. The political situation is critical and much more dangerous than the wildfires IMHO.

Go Home
September 14, 2020 6:44 am

In Portland yesterday, one guy was caught starting a fire along the interstate using a Molotov cocktail, and then arrested and released without bail early this morning (like all other violent ANTIFA and BLM protesters in Portland). He has now been picked up for starting 6 more fires along the interstate less than 12 hours after being picked up for the first fire.

I think this is the Democrat strategy.

September 14, 2020 7:25 am

‘About 70% of California’s 2020 burnt areas have been in grasslands and dead grass is so dry by the end of California’s annual summer drought that dead grasses are totally insensitive to any added warmth from climate change.’

but aren’t the concentrated rains in winter leading to more grass growing and thus more fuel? and isn’t the fire season extending? (are this year’s fires not earlier?) And surely even for grass to catch light, more heatwaves and drought make it more likely there’s a grass fire?

and then it still defies belief that in 2018 and 2020 suddenly forest management failures reach the point where we have a high level of fires… and that’s the only reason…

The trees dead from drought and beetles not killed off in warmer winters -not a factor?

Really the more of these ‘nothing happening except ordinary weather which mysteriously burns stuff not even in forests at a record rate’ articles the more I’m astonished at the sheer capability to believe in counter factuals…

Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 8:19 am

What are concentrated rains? Do you have a source?
“aren’t the concentrated rains”

Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 8:23 am


Are you actually capable of reading the temperature graphs posted in the article?

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
September 14, 2020 10:47 am

What makes you think he even tried? griff is famous for posting articles that actually refute the point he’s trying to make.

David A Anderson
Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2020 12:22 pm

Griff, wrong wrong and wrong,
The beatle infestation – damage was so severe due to the fire suppression and lack of clearing, all CAGW alarmist policies. Then, compounding multi errors, the alarmists refused to allow most of the needed clearing of the dead trees and overgrown forrests.

Then, a perfectly normal drought hit, followed by normal 🔥, yet made exponentially worse by the mentioned stupid errors of your fellow travelers.

As to CO2s contribution, yes greater growth of bio mass, but, due to the CO2, greater drought tolerance, a bit less flammable, trees a bit less dry in the drought due to additional C02.

The grasses dry every year regardless. And the graphics show, the heat this year was entirely normal.

Of course you won’t respond to the rationale critique of your daft post or the assertions in the article.

Reply to  David A Anderson
September 15, 2020 6:53 am

David, Actually the Beatles invasion occurred in the 1960’s. It was a Beetle infestation, most recently, that was a problem.

Reply to  ThinkingScientist
September 14, 2020 2:49 pm

Looking at graphs makes him break out in hives.

Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 8:36 am

The mature Pine forest creates the Mountain Pine Beetle, as the mature Pines reach old age from the last major fires in the early 1900’s. California doesn’t ever get the kind of cold to cancel the pine beetle populations, (such as northern Boreal forests sometimes do) which are a natural progression of a mature Pine forest. The same thing has been happening for millennium. Fire is the way Mother Nature renews the forest. It is a firescape evolved forest after all, for millions of years. This is nature…the early aboriginal peoples knew this and would do what they could with fire in the off season, but inevitably it comes down to massive wild fires, throughout history. It’s hard to accept, especially when your place burns down, but this is reality.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Earthling2
September 14, 2020 12:52 pm

I have measured and aged Ponderosa pines and other conifers and oaks throughout the Sierras, and I can assure you that many are 600 years old or older. Some Sequoias are 1,200yo.

The above hypothesis regarding pine beetle outbreaks or major fires determining or controlling tree ages is thus totally and utterly refuted.

The REALITY may be hard to accept, but the REALITY is that anthropogenic fire was practiced for millennia, and the aboriginal arborculturalists deliberately protected their favorite mast-producing trees, and that is why and wherefrom the current old-growth arose. The old-growth, including redwoods, are culturally modified. Without human stewardship they wouldn’t be here at all.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 14, 2020 3:53 pm

1,200 years old – I just googled it – probably even older . . .
Giant sequoias are the third longest-lived tree species with the oldest known specimen to have been 3,266 years old in the Converse Basin Grove of Giant Sequoia National Monument.Sep 11, 2019


Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 10:18 am

You DO understand that the nickname “The Golden State” has nothing to do with the mineral GOLD … but the seasonal golden (dead, dry) grasses that greeted the settlers? CA is a dry State … it’s why we all like living here … lots of sunshine and warm weather.

Same as it ever was. Same as it … ever was.

Reply to  Kenji
September 14, 2020 10:48 am

All change is caused by CO2.
Even when there is no change, the change is still being caused by CO2.

Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 10:23 am

Wrong again, griff. There have been documented bark beetle infestations in climates much, much colder than California has ever been. Alaska has had bark beetle infestations going back at least 100 years – certainly far longer than that.

Holsten, E.H. 1990. Spruce beetle activity in Alaska: 1920-1989. R10-90-18. Anchorage, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Alaska Region. 27 p.

The slightly cooler winter temperatures that California had 100 years ago (1 degree C, MAYBE) wasn’t killing the bark beetles. Bark beetles survive extremely cold temperatures. A study done in Alberta showed that 50% of pine beetles survived under-bark temperatures of -37. (about the same temp in Fahrenheit and Celsius). It doesn’t get anywhere near that cold in the California forests that burned. DUH.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/formain15814/$file/MPBColdTemperaturesFacts-Jan2010.pdf?OpenElement

Bark beetles are a simply a part of the forest, even in very cold climates. They only kill trees that are compromised by disease or drought.

It’s just common sense that ~1 degree C of warming on average in 100 years, mostly in winter and overnight temps, hasn’t had an adverse effect on wildfires. The weather is far, far too variable. In fact, worldwide, wildfires are down – mostly from non-climate related reasons. You’re just beclowning yourself when you push a demonstrably false narrative.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Meab
September 14, 2020 11:42 am

Like other parasites and viruses it’s only when they get outside their natural environment do Bark Beetles kill off everyone of their hosts. Often bark beetles carry a deadly fungus, virus or bacteria. Dutch Elm Disease or Ash Die Back a fungal disease. There’s a bark beetle killing non native pine trees in France.

But being an optimist I think enough trees with natural immunity will survive to continue the species. One proviso, as long as humans don’t try and help

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 14, 2020 4:39 pm

The Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) carry spores of the blue stain fungus (Ophiostoma sp.) that infects the trees the beetles bore into. It is the fungus that kills the trees, not the beetle boring.

Beetle outbreaks often occur following forest fires. Needle-scorched trees are attacked. I can personally verify this as I have ventured into burned stands within a week or two after the fire, and heard the audible hum of millions of male bark beetles stridulating (chirping) hoping to attract females.

The next spring beetle infestations occur in green trees within flight distance of the burned stand. In this manner a 10,000 acre fire can result in the bark beetle attack of 100’s of thousands of proximate acres.

Indeed, every major bark beetle outbreak in the last 30 years can be traced to the originating burned stand.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 10:43 am

Tell us something NEW, griff.
All this has been happening for hundreds of years IN CYCLES.
Check the fires in the 1930’s – there were 5 to 10 times as many and area burned.
Waiting for your explanation – >>>>>>>>>>>waiting.

Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 10:46 am

1) There hasn’t been any temperature increase in the area where the fires are occurring.
2) Since the areas in question are covered in grass already, more rain won’t always mean more grass.
3) A few tenths of a degree (even if it were actually happening) wouldn’t make grass more likely to catch fire.
4) The grass is completely dried out during a regular summer, you can’t get more dried out than “completely dried out”.
5) I love the way trolls always try to move the goal posts. Bad forest management doesn’t cause fires, it just makes them bigger. There is nothing sudden about it, as always griff can’t tell the difference between more fires, and more coverage of fires.
6) The winters aren’t warmer, and normal winters in that area don’t get cold enough to kill beetles. Drought is normal in this area, and these droughts are nothing out of the ordinary. Trees are adapted to it already.
7) Where did you get the notion that only things in forests are supposed to burn?
8) Believing in counter factuals is your specialty, as evidenced by your all of your “questions” above.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 10:53 am

You ask, “but aren’t the concentrated rains in winter leading to more grass growing and thus more fuel?”

Just what do you mean by that question? With a Mediterranean Climate, rain is concentrated in the Winter, always has been, and always will be. Are you suggesting that there has been an increase in Winter precipitation? Do you have any evidence for that, or are you just trying to plant a seed of speculative doubt?

What is more important is the accidental introduction of exotic plants like Cheat Grass and Yellow Star Thistle that provide fuel that didn’t exist before the 19th century.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  griff
September 14, 2020 11:05 am


I live in Kansas, with huge areas of prairie grass, grass that dries out in the dry summer heat. Yet we don’t have huge fires like CA. Can you guess at the reason? My guess is no.

One of the largest reasons is controlled burns in the spring which not only kills weeds but also clears out the fuel load represented by old, dry grass on the ground. So you don’t have new, dry grass layering on old, dry grass year after year.

And you don’t have to burn it all! Just enough to provide fire breaks large enough to keep the high Western Kansas winds from jumping them. If you burn a line a section wide for a couple of miles then grass on either side can’t catch grass on the other side on fire, the embers burn out before they get to the other side.

This will be true whether there is a drought, normal rain, or excess rain.

Most of California is classed as SEMI-ARID desert. Does this mean anything to you? (hint – drought)

The fuel load in CA, OR, and WA have been building for over 40 years, ever since the Greenies took power on the left coast. Climate change has nothing to do with this. 90degF temperatures dry out fuel just as much as does 100degF temperatures. It isn’t the temperature that starts the fires.

Reply to  griff
September 15, 2020 12:31 am

Not according to Nick Stoke the old fool troll according to him its USDF lands that are burning … you trolls need to get your story straight.

Abolition Man
September 14, 2020 7:29 am

Thank you for another clear and concise post!
I’m hoping the reports about urban rioters intentionally setting rural fires are wrong, but I fear they are not!
The lack of proper forestry management will cause these fires to continue until sanity is restored. I recall the area below Shaver Lake burning 20 years ago, but the fuel load was lower and without a generation of neglect it was controlled fairly quickly! If I was still living in the state the previous week would have been my normal time for hiking and camping in the Muir Wilderness, a good bit farther up the mountain and, blessedly, missed by the fires so far!

Ron Long
September 14, 2020 7:36 am

Let’s see, we have Governor Newsom on one side and Jim Steele on the other, who to believe for scientific comments? Alex, I’ll take Jim Steele for a million, please.

Abolition Man
September 14, 2020 7:36 am

I forgot to ask you if you think there is a genetic marker for smarmy platitudes? Navin Gruesome and MaligNancy Pelousy seem to resort to them often and I was thinking they might have a Progressive gene that allows them to speak that way without twitching or vomiting. It’s likely just another indicator for sociopathy!

September 14, 2020 7:46 am

I always thought that the fire terrorism would come from abroad by foreign malcontents when the conditions were super ripe for fire. Now it is apparent that the actual arsonists are home grown crazies that have actually started some of these fires. The other arsonists are the accumulated mismanagement of previous Gov’ts by their hands off policy to manage the forest and grasslands over longer time scales, since the invention of Smokey the Bear forest fire management policies and Endangered Species legislation. Now those species are much worse off than if we had kept the logging industry intact.

This is now generations of mismanagement that has finally accumulated with these fuels to combust into terrible fire storm conflagrations. It is inevitable, sooner or later when the conditions are right. And those weather conditions will always be with us, no matter what we think we can do to change the weather and/or climate. It just takes a week of hot dry windy weather, and poof, you can have a fire almost anywhere there is fuels to burn. And now there is more fuel to burn than ever before.

Refusing to take responsibility or even acknowledge the the very obvious forestry mismanagement by previous generations, Governor Newsom is even more criminal than the crazies starting the fires. Joe Biden is going to try and ride this one trick pony of excuses to blame fires on climate change as well, and will be interesting to see if the public buy this, or let them make up their own minds as to what is so very obvious right in front of their very own eyes. Why do some people always have to blame something, and not take the obvious responsibility and roll up your sleeves and start making the necessary changes? This is the definition of insanity at its worst, doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting some different result.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Earthling2
September 14, 2020 9:20 am

Smokey Bear (no “the”) is the animal mascot thing (cartoon), slowly changing. Watch for more.

Smokey the Bear (with 3-letter word therein) comes from a song.

Smokey Bear – – 1944 [ “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires.” ]
Bear cub (real bear) named Smokey – – 1950
The ode to Smokey (the) – – 1952
Slogan change to: “Remember — only you can prevent forest fires.” {from ‘fires’ to ‘forest fires’}
A new change: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” { note ‘wildfires’}

This and more on pages 10-11; Smithsonian Magazine, Jul/Aug 2019.

Reply to  John F Hultquist
September 14, 2020 10:22 am

Yes there are two versions…the actual burnt bear rescued from a tree in a 1944 forest fire I believe… aka Smokey Bear and the Smokey the Bear forest polices that came about from the popular media of the 1950’s when the character was given the name of Smokey the Bear including the song. Smokey’s name has always intentionally been spelled differently from the adjective “smoky”.

The intent of that original media campaign still holds water today for human induced fires, in that “Only you can prevent Forest fires…now wildfires”, which is basic common sense…be careful with fire. (now we have outright domestic arson terrorism) And then there is the polices that led to the near shut down of the forest industry and leave everything natural polices through Endangered Species legislations. Which has led to the massive buildup of natural fuels.

A new twist would be the additional CO2 making everything grow better, which the enviros haven’t really stated using yet, but I suspect that is next. Even though it also assists in feeding nearly 8 billion people with natural fertilization including chemical fertilizer and irrigation. The enviros will blame the extra CO2 for the extra bio-growth in making wildfires worse, but I bet they won’t give it credit for also greening of the good Earth and assisting to feed everyone.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Earthling2
September 14, 2020 11:25 am

“The” was added to keep the rhythm in the song.

Shoki Kaneda
September 14, 2020 7:47 am

“Newsom is either ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, is totally stupid, or is a dishonest demagogue.”

Or, all of the above.

Gordon A. Dressler
September 14, 2020 7:49 am

“Newsom is either ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, is totally stupid, or is a dishonest demagogue.”

Thank you, Jim, for that. I could not have said it better.

And at least two of the three can be extended to general leadership of his political party. IMHO.

September 14, 2020 7:51 am

Truth over facts, and the truth is what they want it to be and they say so. To paraphrase never let the facts get in the way of an agenda (truth).

Windy Wilson
Reply to  Olen
September 14, 2020 1:19 pm

Or, Dopey Joe Biden, “We believe in truth over facts!”
At least until the old truth goes down the memory hole so Engsoc has always been at war with Eastasia.

September 14, 2020 8:03 am

Just another propaganda point to scare the populace …. into something. Since 1926 we/USA averaged 7M acres burned by wildfires/year. So far this year it’s about 4M acres, but growing. Peak during that period was 55M acres in 1930.

Mike Maguire
September 14, 2020 8:11 am

The real reason for the fires:

September 14, 2020 8:21 am

British Columbia is also on the West Coast. BC is almost entirely covered in forests. We have huge areas of beetle killed forests. Yet we have one of the lowest years on record for forest fires.

We currently can’t see more than a few hundred feet due to smoke from the US forest fires. All of this illegally imported into Canada without any duties or GST or Carbon Tax paid.

Reply to  ferdberple
September 14, 2020 10:46 am

Been a real wet cold year this year in the coastal/central interior. The Okanogan region and SE BC has been a bit drier as per normal and has had some forest fires, but for the majority of BC, it has been very wet and cool most of the spring and summer. Most days you couldn’t start a forest fire with a blow torch and the mornings are soaking wet in dew. Plus, thanks to a semi-functional logging industry in BC, there is a very healthy new young forest growing after it was logged. We still have tens of millions of dead pine trees though, and about the only use is to make wood pellets out of it, as they probably should have been doing in California the last 40 years. Or better, gasify the biomass and burn it in CCGT technology for much better efficiencies. Unfortunately, many, including WUWT, doesn’t support wood pellets or managing our biomass issues in reducing wildfire by utilizing it to make electricity. This is very distressing and causes me to lose all hope for everything, to get that so callously wrong.

Eric Eikenberry
September 14, 2020 8:53 am

CA’s “back to nature” forestry management policies will always result in “back to nature” forest fires. “Extreme Fire Danger” warning on dry days are a farce. Once the material is dead, it’s tinder unless it’s pouring down rain. It happens every single year. It’s just that the last few years have actually been very snowy and wet in CA, so more vegetation and undergrowth have sprung up. The AZ deserts were green all the way into July this year. Falsely attributing these fuel-loaded fires to global warming is smarter than the actual hands-off forestry policy. Placing the blame on others is a narcissistic trait which eventually results in the world crashing down on the narcissist when their fictional world-view fails utterly. True to form Gavin et al have resorted to just blaming the next thing on the list rather than accepting responsibility. That’s not the government we deserve.

Meanwhile, Germany is cutting down useful forests to create wood pellets for power plant fuel in Europe?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Eric Eikenberry
September 14, 2020 11:07 am


September 14, 2020 8:55 am

With the growing La Nina, the cooling eastern Pacific Ocean is going to cause more drought like conditions for the foreseeable future. Which I would think is going to cause more drought like conditions to arrive in the interior of the Great Plains next year. Hopefully this isn’t the start of another decade like the dirty 30’s with multiple year droughts. That wouldn’t be unexpected either…the climate record is full of long term droughts, some lasting hundreds of years, when the Pacific cools from La Nina conditions, which leads to less evaporation and shifting Hadley Cells dragging the jet stream around with it. The Little Ice Age for hundreds of yeas contributed to these long term droughts in the continental interior and California/Pacific North West. Mother Nature is a harsh mistress.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Earthling2
September 14, 2020 11:14 am

Alarmists are fond of the “Heads I win, tails you lose approach.” If there is a drought, they say it is a result of climate change and causes more fires. If there is an abundance of rain, they say it is a result of climate change and it produces more fuel and causes more fires. In their mind, the only good climate is the fictional Goldilocks climate.

September 14, 2020 8:59 am

Effective refutation is easiest if you use the internal contradictions of their own systems. And keep it very short. I use ==>

Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. There is on average 50 times as much of it in the atmosphere as CO2. Explain how CO2 is dominant.

Curious George
September 14, 2020 9:08 am

Governor Gavin Newsom is a good politician. He knows that fighting fires is popular. Preventing them, not so much.

Reply to  Curious George
September 14, 2020 10:32 am

Yes … firefighting … encompasses ALL the heroic nomenclature of our times …
– First Responders
– Emergency Services
– Essential Workers
– Non violent inmates
All make wonderful props for politicians speeches

Reply to  Curious George
September 14, 2020 11:20 am

Fighting the fires is a multi-billion dollar business, no?
Taxpayer money pays for the fire fighting, no?
Will politicians and bureaucrats ever do something that will eliminate government jobs?

September 14, 2020 9:12 am

Poor tbruno, like most progressives, he either can’t read, or isn’t smart enough to understand what it is reading.

There is nothing unusual going on in CA weatherwise at the present. CA has always had droughts, going back tens of thousands of years. Today’s drought is nothing compared to past droughts.

As the article pointed out, grassland dries out in a normal summer. It doesn’t get any drier during dry years.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2020 11:10 am


The climate in CA is SEMI-ARID DESERT! Has been for a thousand years. Still is.

What happens with semi-arid deserts? Droughts. Rain. High temps. Low temps. Wind. No wind. Snow. No Snow.

Nothing’s different today.

Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2020 12:58 pm

One constant with liberals, they love to ignore rules, in this case the first rule of holes.
Is temperature not part of climate?
Regardless, can you provide any evidence that anything has change outside the range of normal, or do you just speak to impress yourself?

Reply to  MarkW
September 14, 2020 1:01 pm

What is climate change Tbruno?

September 14, 2020 9:16 am

One hundred years ago, you might get 1 or 2 extremely bright students from a school that would go on to a career in science. It was recognized that the other 999 student in the school were thick as clotted milk. They could memorize the answers, but didn’t understand the questions.

Now today we try and send 2 or 3 hundred from each school into science. And most of them can’t do science so they end up doing office politics. Shouting down the 1 or 2 that actually understand the question and don’t rely on memorized answers.

Would Newton have seen nearly so far if he was standing on the shoulders of pygmies?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ferdberple
September 14, 2020 11:06 am

You have put your finger on the problem with science in general, and climate science in particular. We now have lots of people with degrees in science that don’t have the intelligence or inquisitive mindset to do good science. And, we have people calling themselves climate scientists who have science degrees in other fields, who couldn’t make it in those areas, so they changed what they did. It appears that the competition in climate science is less challenging. Even English majors can find jobs in climate science. What does that say about the level of qualifications?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 14, 2020 1:00 pm

The only qualification needed to become a “climate scientist” is to agree with whatever those who already call themselves “climate scientists” are saying.

September 14, 2020 9:19 am

Hi Jim,

In your question about Newsom “Newsom is either ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, is totally stupid, or is a dishonest demagogue.” I’m gonna go with “Dishonest Demagogue.” My reasoning is this report by the Governor’s “Little Hoover Commission” which reports directly to Governor Newsom. In this report dated February 2018, ‘Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest, Management in the Sierra Nevada, Report #242, February 2018.’ This is the opening sentence: “A century of mismanaging Sierra Nevada forests has brought an unprecedented environmental catastrophe that impacts all Californians — and with it, a rare opportunity for transformational culture change in forest management practices.”

Sometime around 2018, the Office of the California Legislative Analyst sent a report to the Legislature that stated environmentalist politics was suppressing proper forest management, that private forest managers were being denied burn permits, permits were slow-walked, or completely denied. However, I’m unable to find that report again. It was only that Governor Newsom declared a fire emergency that any burning can take place at all. If someone is able to find that report, please send me a link, it was a very important document.

As I live in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, fire is a regular topic. I tell my friends and neighbors, fire comes down to three things: Fuel, Oxygen, Ignition. We can’t remove oxygen, we try to remove ignition … thus fire always comes back to fuel. We either burn that fuel in the winter, when the fuel is a little less volatile, or we can stock-pile it in hopes we don’t have yet another summer-time disaster.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Lil-Mike
September 14, 2020 1:19 pm

“We either burn that fuel in the winter…”

Or, as part of a stepped up forest mgt.- develop a woody biomass power industry and/or build a pellet industry. This new industry will be useful and make possible the thinning of dense stands- leaving the healthiest, strongest species best suited to the site.

So, controlled burns in areas that would not be feasible for harvesting woody biomass and biomass harvesting where feasible- together, removing much of the wood.

Jim Steele
September 14, 2020 9:31 am


Interesting that you would fabricate what I “think”.

In other articles I have talked about the winds. The Santa Ana and Diablo winds have been a major contributor to the spread of wildfire. Those winds increase during the cooler months as the high pressure systems over cooling high deserts push winds towards the warmer oceans. Santa Ana winds peak in December. Even the consensus from climate models agree that those deadly winds should decrease i a warming world.

Read my 2017 article

“Deconstructing the Climate Demagoguery of the Wine Country Wildfire Tragedies”

So you appear to be a misinformed troll tbruno. Perhaps from the same troll factory as Griff?

Reply to  Jim Steele
September 14, 2020 12:58 pm

They haven’t changed. That’s the point that you work so hard to avoid.

Abolition Man
September 14, 2020 9:47 am

I’ll try to keep it really simple so you might be able to understand!
You have a choice between lots of small fires, many of them intentionally set to reduce fuel loads; and a few really large fires, some of them catastrophic for the people, plants and animals living where they occur! There is NO third option!
Resuming responsible timber harvesting helps by reducing fuel loads and making roads that can act as firebreaks or increased access for fire crews! Trying to pretend that the forest should never, ever burn is not only childish, but it also damages or destroys the very thing the environmentalists say they are trying to preserve! Try to get some science and data before you come back to the adult table!
Typical city dweller; never been through a forest outside of a car or train, and all his information comes from the Fake News propaganda outlets!

September 14, 2020 9:57 am

Climate Alarm is the new Swiss army knife of political spin. It will also serve a major role in the big push for the ultra-regressive carbon tax to pay for all the policy mistakes about to pile up.

Mickey Reno
September 14, 2020 10:20 am

I just saw this excerpt from Tucker Carlson’s Sept. 11th show, and it is simply the best analysis of Leftist/Democrat/Socialist/Progressive/Green politicians and media hacks using Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming as an issue to grab more power for themselves and their party that I have ever seen. California governor Newsom is mentioned somewhat unflatteringly near the end. Gov. Inslee of Washington, L.A. Mayor Garcetti and Nancy Pelosi get mentioned, too. Please take 15 minutes to watch it if you haven’t seen it already. And after you’ve watched it, please resolve to vote for Donald Trump this fall, and against all these Democrats in their home states if you ever get the chance.

Reply to  Mickey Reno
September 15, 2020 7:01 am

‘Climate change’ is the ‘systemic racism’ in the Sky.

You can’t see it but it’s there, it’s deadly, and it’s your fault.

Smart Rock
September 14, 2020 10:23 am

Mr. Steele: Always a pleasure to read your fact-based, logical and highly persuasive posts.

This time you (quite justifiably!) used slightly intemperate language, calling Gov. Newsom “either (1) ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, (2) is totally stupid, or (3) is a dishonest demagogue” (I added the numbers).

(1) is of course standard practice in climate science (“where conclusions come first”) and its political fellow travellers.

(3) isn’t “dishonest demagogue” synonymous with “politician”? No lie is too brazen, no promise too implausible, if they attract votes.

but (2) is debatable. I don’t think most successful politicians (i.e. those that get elected) are genuinely stupid. They just appear that way because they don’t use their intelligence to understand any substantive issues in depth; they just pick out slogans or “talking points” that they think will help get them to get elected next time around. They are cunning, devious manipulators who stab their opponents in the back (and their allies too, if they are any kind of threat).

All this requires intelligence and some sort of analytical ability, but these are only used in the service of gaining and holding on to power. In any case, in the world of 5-second sound bites, the ability to profoundly understand complex issues and convey nuanced messages is going to be more of a liability than an asset, so that ability (if it once existed) has atrophied through neglect.

September 14, 2020 10:34 am

The real battle is that of Political Science vs. Empirical Science. Lots and lots of money and control continues to pollute the former.

Gerald Machnee
September 14, 2020 10:47 am

Unfortunately Newsom is getting the CBC biased attention and being quoted as “correct” compared to Trump simply because the ignorant Newsom used “climate change”
The CBC correspondent in ashington is Lyndsay Duncombe.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
September 14, 2020 7:26 pm

She’s just another tool

September 14, 2020 11:36 am

Excellent piece backed up by easy to understand facts..Unfortunately, the people hustling these claims are deaf to anything contrary that doesn’t fit their narrative. On top of that it’s very simple for the m(asses) to attribute high temps with an increased frequency of fires..The logical nature of the actual truth is completely lost on most..

September 14, 2020 11:54 am

Jim, thanks for pointing out that its maximum temperatures that have the most affect. I had been looking at CA average temps which have changed just slightly since 1930. Also from the NCEI web site I see that there has been essentially no change in CA’s average precipitation since 1930. I hope you put an article in the Tribune pointing out the facts, as my lady friend won’t listen to me! 🙂

Jim Steele
Reply to  eck
September 14, 2020 1:22 pm

Hi eck,

Are you from Pacifica?

The Tribune published my “Minimizing California Wildfires” two Wednesdays ago and my new article “Escalator to Extinction Myth” appears this Wednesday which I will cross post here.

So today’s article wont make it to the Tribune. But I did post it in the local website NextDoor for everyone who does not read the Tribune. I created a special Climate Change group in order to discuss such controversial non-local topics.

Reply to  Jim Steele
September 14, 2020 2:47 pm

My lady friend is. I’m occasionally there, less so the last 6 months (sigh!)

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Jim Steele
September 14, 2020 7:29 pm

Seems I can’t sign up here in Canada

Joseph Zorzin
September 14, 2020 1:03 pm

“Biden slams Trump as ‘climate arsonist’ as fires ravage West ”

Wow, a new term, “climate arsonist”!

September 14, 2020 1:20 pm

Look there’s this big box with $1 trillion in stimulus money for California’s share just waiting for you guys to go dig it up. It’s buried under this big ‘W’ at Santa Rosita Park. And there’s enough for you, and you, and me, and ………

John F Hultquist
September 14, 2020 1:29 pm

As with most posts on WUWT, and other sympathetic sites, there are comments made by what folks call trolls; sometimes it is implied these are paid to introduce misinformation and distraction. Maybe so.
However, I am more inclined to view them as adherents of a modern era (digital) doomsday cult.

Even if there is a leader, and that leader is proved wrong {end of world doesn’t happen} the followers remain committed to the beliefs of the cult. Read more at the link given.
Global warming via CO2 being an existential threat to Planet Earth, or to humans, has become the current Doomsday Cult. Trying to explain to the adherents why they are wrong is a waste of time.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  John F Hultquist
September 14, 2020 4:11 pm

This phenomenon explains the 7th Day Adventist church, which was founded from one of the several remnant factions that formed from among the followers and believers of Baptist preacher William Miller, who had gathered his followers in, I believe, upstate New York in 1844 to greet the end times together after dispossessing themselves of their worldly goods. When the end of the world failed to materialize, they called this momentous bit of good fortune for almost the entire world, “The Great Disappointment.” To be sure, those followers gave Miller several chances to be correct, following his first failed prediction, and patiently awaited his adjusted calculations for at least one more attempt at Armageddon, if not more.

“The way we think we understand something, is by making successful predictions about it” – Dr. John Christie, UAH, to a US House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on climate change.

September 14, 2020 1:31 pm

Let’s see now. You burn down you refugee center in Greece and you get a free trip to other parts of Europe. Yep, it must be caused by climate change.

September 14, 2020 1:40 pm

Noticed that while all the graphs have the same X axis scale (1900-2020), the Y axis (years) are slightly different.
Just stupidly nit picking on an informative article

BillThe Geo
September 14, 2020 2:04 pm

We have had tremendous wild fires in California every year for the last three years while Newsom has been governor. By simple correlation theory, the fires must have been caused by Newsom!

Reply to  BillThe Geo
September 14, 2020 2:27 pm

Or it is Mother Nature taking her revenge against the Wicked Witch of the West, Speaker Pelosi? Or both Newsom and Nancy. Ditto for Oregon and Washington State with such bad governance. In fact, criminal negligence in their governance of the sad state of the Left Coast that extends right up to British Columbia where there are similar socialist/marxists in power. Very depressing that it has all come to this. #GoTrump.

September 14, 2020 3:38 pm

ABC News with David Muir insinuated President Trump was a “Climate Arsonist” on their opening tease.

The president has not been looting, burning homes and businesses but David Muir et. al. are cheering the real perps on.

This will not end well. Joe Biden and the DNC plays with matches. Maybe they’ll pee in bed tonight.

September 14, 2020 4:15 pm

Average CA annual precipitation hasn’t changed since 1930. See ths NOAA NCEI website

R Moore
September 14, 2020 4:20 pm

Jim, what role do invasive grasses play in the fires in CA, OR, and WA? Cheat grass is a big problem in sagegrass country I have read for example. Does this type of vegetation add to the tinder problem there?
Also a friend of mine had two buildings burn down on land in the Santa Cruz mountains. Because the homes were off the grid and spring fed water was available FEMA is not helping them. Is this normal in this situation?
They plan to rebuild : is there a building method that is more fire resistant?

Jim Steele
Reply to  R Moore
September 14, 2020 5:33 pm

Regards invasive grasses, they are typically annuals that germinate early and die early, so they become bone dry and inflammable by July. Invasive annuals outcompeted the native perennial grasses that remained green through August and into September. They became flammable just before the rains return which shortened the fire season.

Regards FEMA I dont enough to comment.

Regards fire resistant homes, concrete is good. Our old National Forest field station buildings were sadly wooden but with metal roofs which deter fire. Putting mesh on vents, and under eaves to prevent embers from getting trapped is wise. Finally location where a defensible space can be created. I saw nice green lawns prevent fire from getting too near buildings.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  R Moore
September 14, 2020 8:46 pm

R Moore
Take a drive through the Mother Lode (Highway 49) and observe the old architecture. Take a stroll through Columbia State Park, just north of Sonora. They built using brick, or native stone, and put on slate or corrugated iron roofs. They had iron shutters for the windows and doors. Basically, the 49ers built out of things that don’t burn and they prevented embers and radiant heat from entering the buildings.

Part of the problem is that people retire from the Bay Area and either live in a mobile home, or if they have a little more money, they build a home similar to what they had in the Bay Area. Most of the commercial buildings in ‘downtown’ Paradise had flat roofs, sealed with asphalt, and false walls around the roof to hide the A/C units. When the embers were flying, they would encounter a dead zone with no wind, and fall onto the flammable roofs.

When I was married, my wife and I bought 5 acres in Paradise. It had a two-room building with roof and siding of corrugated iron. When we got divorced, she built a two-bedroom, conventional home 100 feet from the original building. When the fire went through, it completely destroyed the new home, and spared the iron building.

September 14, 2020 4:25 pm

What percentage of this graph is California? I couldn’t find the same data for CA.:

comment image?ssl=1


September 14, 2020 10:01 pm

Thanks for that link! It’s from this article, right?

It appears to be an updated version of this graph, except that this one both starts and ends about one decade earlier:
comment image
(downloaded from )

September 14, 2020 4:48 pm

Everything written here about wildfires in West Coast USA States conifer forests and grasslands applies equally well to Australian East Coast eucalyptus forest and grassland wildfires. The Climate Alarmists like to ignore the data and the experience of indigenous forest management of the past years. In both USA and Australian cases fuel management and defensible fire-breaks in fire prone areas is the solution, not wild alarm over CO2. Short term reduction of fire occurrence alone eventually leads to catastrophic destruction by huge fires.

September 14, 2020 5:36 pm


Judging from experience dodging local wildfires, Wind and humidity have a larger part in it. One of our worst local fires was in March. Lower North Fork Fire. Colorado. Pushed by wind from frontal passage of a cold front.

The focus on temperature allows the whole topic to go down the climate politics rabbit hole. First principles. No big fuels = no big fires … ever. Little fuel = smaller manageable fires. Mitigate first, then argue about how much suppression capability to buy. As far as contributory agents go, high temperature is correlated in that it is associated with low humidity, higher winds, and high fuel ERC’s [energy release component] but not necessarily causative.

Someone from CA please tell the governor that solar panels, wind generators, and electric cars have nothing to do with controlling wildfires.

Bruce of Newcastle
September 14, 2020 5:36 pm

La Nina usually causes increased wildfires in California, and la Nina also usually causes global temperature to fall by half a degree or thereabouts.

So Newsom is effectively saying global warming causes global cooling!

September 14, 2020 7:51 pm

1°C of warming is equivalent to only 18% of a growing zone (as they’re typically defined in the USA, 10°F per zone), corresponding to an isotherm shift of only about 60-90 miles. Since the Little Ice age we’ve had a total of about 1°C of warming (somewhere between 0.5°C and 1.5°C).

That slight warming is equivalent to an isotherm shift of only about 30-140 miles, as you can see in this growing zone map:
comment image

If that very slight warming caused significantly worsening fires, then you should expect that the enormously greater warming associated with moving south in the United States would cause the incidence and/or severity of wildfires to be much lower in the North than in the South.

So, let’s check that. Here’s a list of the worst wildfire disasters in U.S. history (through 2018):

Deadliest U.S. wildfires:
1,200+ deaths, 1871 (Peshtigo Fire, Wisconsin)
453+ deaths, 1918 (Cloquet Fire, Minnesota)
418+ deaths, 1894 (Hinkley Fire, Minnesota)
282 deaths, 1882 (Thumb Fire, Michigan)
87 deaths, 1910 (Great Fire of 1910, Idaho and Montana)
84 deaths, 2018 (Camp Fire, Paradise, California)
65 deaths, 1902 (Yacolt Burn, Oregon and Washington)
29 deaths, 1933 (Griffith Park Fire, Los Angeles, California)
25 deaths, 1991 (Tunnel Fire, Oakland Hills, California)
22 deaths, 2017 (Tubbs Fire, California)
19 deaths, 2013 (Yarnell Fire, Arizona)
16 deaths, 1947 (The Great Fires of 1947, Maine)
15 deaths, 2003 (Cedar Fire, San Diego County, California)
15 deaths, 1953 (Rattlesnake Fire, California)
15 deaths, 1937 (Blackwater Creek Fire, Wyoming)
14 deaths, 2017 (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)
13 deaths, 1994 (South Canyon Fire, Colorado)


Do you see it? The four worst fires, and six of the seven worst fires, were all in northern states.

If warmer temperatures really caused worsening wildfires, then most of the worst fires should have been in southern states.

The worst fire in US history was in chilly Wisconsin in October, 1871, when CO2 (estimated from ice cores) was only ≈288 ppmv. It is believed to have killed at least 1200 Americans. Here’s an article about it:

Here’s another:

Or ask Google:

It consumed about 1.2 million acres. Here’s a map:
comment image

Here are some paintings, depicting the event:
comment image
comment image

U.S. fires have seen an uptick in recent years, but here’s a graph that puts it into perspective:
comment image

Droughts do increase fire risk, but droughts are not worsening. Here’s a paper, and graph:
comment image

Here’s a NOAA chart:
comment image

The main factor driving fire prevalence and severity is land management and forestry practices. If you let dead wood and forest litter accumulate, you’re asking for trouble. If you plant eucalyptus trees around houses, you’re asking for trouble. If you constrict exit routes in fire-prone areas, like Paradise California did, you’re asking for trouble.

Australia has a lot of problems with wildfires. Here is some good information about them, from two Australian experts:

1. Mr. Brian Williams, captain of the Kurrajong Heights brigade:

2. Mr. David Packham, a now-retired researcher from Monash University:

In the United States, nothing could be clearer than the fact that federal government is terrible at land management. (The same is apparently true in Australia.) If we want land to be managed well, it needs to be managed by people who are have a personal interest in it. That is, it needs to be under local control, rather than the control of distant national governments. Here’s a very instructive lecture, by Montana State Senator Jennifer Fielder, who is also CEO of the American Lands Council (speaking at ICCC13):

Ulric Lyons
September 15, 2020 7:05 am

“Scientific evidence reveals there has been no climate effect regards California’s wildfires! None!”

In theory rising CO2 forcing could reduce Californian wildfires by inhibiting El Nino intensity by a not very meaningful amount. Low solar increases the El Nino induced rains which boost the undergrowth fuel load. An increase in El Nino conditions during a centennial solar minimum is normal. And then the fire risk increases in the year following an El Nino episode, and in the weeks-months with a positive NAO/AO anomaly, which is down to a short term high solar signal. Like with this August and September having the fastest solar coronal hole streams for around a year, as I had predicted over a year ago.

September 15, 2020 7:23 am

One small question: What was Governor Gavin Newsom’s claim ?

From the piece I can guess what it probably was, but for the purposes of scientific method, having the underlying claim would be helpful.

September 15, 2020 8:36 am

“Gavin Newsom’s Exceedingly Ignorant Climate Claim”

What, another one?

Jim Steele
September 15, 2020 3:18 pm

I also posted the link to my blog on California fires and Gov Newsom’s cliams to the Weather West (Daniel Swain’s website). He quickly removed the post and blocked me. My blog post, ( also posted here) showed a century of maximum temperature changes at the location where California’s major fires happened. Those trends show max temperatures have not exceeded the 1930s. Swain posts that it is extreme temperature promoting the big fires.

It is sad how alarmists like Swain prevent honest debate supported by facts, to enforce their catastrophic climate change position

September 15, 2020 3:49 pm

You would of thought with all their renewables in California it would of stopped the fires by now, or did I miss something?

September 16, 2020 2:54 am

‘CAL FIRE funded 17 Forest Health grants, targeting over 130,000 acres of California’s forestlands
for restoration through a suite of activities. Activities include thinning dense and degraded forests;
reducing hazardous fuel loads to change extreme fire behavior across the landscape; managing for
drought, insects and disease; and applying prescribed fire for ecological restoration.’

CAL FIRE press release Feb 2020, following the report of February 2019.

And their website has a section urging everyone to create a (fire) defensible space round their homes.

Seems to me a lot of activity aimed at fire management in forests and a lot of things identified which could be done?

Tom Abbott
September 16, 2020 11:56 am

From the article: “In most cases the local maximum temperatures have been cooler now than during the 1930s.”

There is the *real* science of CO2-caused Climate Change. It was just as warm in the 1930’s as it is today. Not only in California, but the entire United States. The United States is actually in a temperature downtrend since the 1930’s.

There was much less CO2 in the atmosphere in the 1930’s, yet it was just as warm as today, with more CO2 in the atmosphere. It appears that CO2 has little effect on the temperatures.

It was just as warm in the United States in the 1930’s as it is today, and if you go by unmodified regional Tmax charts from around the world, the same holds true for the entire world.

What climate change, Joe Biden? The actual science shows there has been no change in temperature even though there has been a change in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. So you can’t blame California’s wildfires on heat generated by CO2 because there has been no extra heat generated by CO2, if it’s not any warmer now than in the 1930’s. And it’s not.

Joe’s not really talking about “The Science”. What he is really talking about is “The Leftwing Science”, which is not really science at all, but is an instrument for gaining money and political power.

September 16, 2020 12:46 pm

Bring in Jerry Brown as a consultant. He knows how to spin climate even from Antarctica.

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