Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on September 15, 2020 by curryja 

by Judith Curry

Subtitle: our failure to live in harmony with nature.

I’m taking a breather today from nonstop hurricane stuff. Well, ‘breather’ may not be quite the right word.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out into the smoke from the California fires that are blowing into Reno (not to mention much of the rest of the U.S.).  Schools in Reno are supposed to be open (they have a good COVID protocol), but have been closed more than half the time for the past month owing to bad air quality from the fires.

The mantra from global warming activists that manmade global warming is causing the fires, and therefore fossil fuels must be eliminated,  is rather tiresome, not to mention misses the most important factors.  More importantly, even if global warming is having some fractional impact on the wildfires, reducing fossil fuels would fractionally impact the fires but only a time scale of many decades hence.


Here are some of the more intelligent articles that I’ve seen on the California fires.

From the LATimes: 150 million dead trees could fuel unprecedented firestorms in the Sierra Nevada. Excerpts:

The Creek fire is burning in the Sierra National Forest, an epicenter of the bark beetle attacks that killed nearly 150 million drought-stressed trees during the last decade.

“All of us on the paper were suggesting that if you are going to try to reduce that mass fire problem in the future, you really need to start putting prescribed fire into these stands to start whittling away at those bigger fuels,” 

While thinning — cutting down the dead timber and hauling it away — can play a role, especially around mountain communities, North said a majority of the beetle-killed stands are in wilderness or in areas that are too remote and too steep to be logged.

Moreover, the dead trees have lost most of their commercial value and are of little interest to the remaining sawmills in California.

Fire ecologists have long pointed to the mid-elevation pine and mixed-conifer belt of the Sierra Nevada as a place desperately in need of the frequent, low-intensity burns that shaped the forest before settlers and a century of government fire suppression policies snuffed them out.

The elimination of indigenous fire practices, logging of the biggest and most fire-resistant trees and fire suppression produced an overgrown forest vulnerable to bark beetle attacks during the severe California drought of 2012-16.

Some areas have 500 to 800 trees per acre, compared with 60 to 100 pre-settlement. The beetle toll was the greatest in the densest stands. There dead fuel will keep piling up for years to come.

Prescribed fire programs aren’t getting the staffing and money they need from the regional and national Forest Service offices.

“We have a culture, and our society, that make it difficult” to return fire to its proper place in the Sierra, he said. “I can’t tell you how many times we had burns and had to shut down a campground and people were upset because we were ruining their vacation,” he recalled. “We had to explain we are trying to make this a place to come back to in the future.”

From the Mercury News – California fires: State, feds agree to thin millions of acres of forests. Excerpts:

The two dozen major fires burning across Northern California were sparked by more than 12,000 lightning strikes, a freak weather occurrence that turned what had been a relatively mild fire season into a devastating catastrophe.

Yet what’s driving these enormous fires is not sparks, but millions of acres of fuel: bone-dry trees and brush that haven’t burned in many years.

Under the plan, California agencies and the U.S. Forest Service will use brush clearing, logging and prescribed fires to thin out 1 million acres a year by 2025 — an area larger than Yosemite National Park every 12 months, and roughly double the current rate of thinning, which already is double rates from a few years ago.

But the plan is not without complications.

Environmental regulations will need to be streamlined, particularly permits for landowners with small parcels to thin trees and brush on their properties. 

Some residents complain about controlled burns because they put smoke in the air and spike hospital visits from people with asthma.

Also, more uses will need to be found for millions of tons of dead brush and small trees that will be removed from forests, much of which has little lumber value. Some can be used to make chipboard and other forest products. There are hopes some can be made into biofuels. The material also can be burned at biomass plants to make electricity, but those are polluting and controversial in many communities. Otherwise, crews pile up dead brush in the forest during spring and winter months and burn it when wildfire risk is low.

And it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Environmental groups say they generally support the more aggressive thinning plan. But they have concerns.

Article by Michael Schellenberger, California ha always had fires, ENvironmental Alarmism Makes Them Worse than Necessary.  Worth reading.


An excellent article from OregonLive entitled Oregon’s historic wildfires: unusual but not unprecedented. Excerpts:

The “east wind event” that conspired with existing drought conditions to blow up two low-level fires and other human-caused ignitions last Monday is rare but hardly unique, academics and fire experts say. The winds were the main culprit in making the catastrophic infernos as fast moving as they were. The windstorm and resulting fire danger were forecast days in advance, but with little appreciable effect.

The prospect of widespread forest treatments in the complex ecosystems of the west side – establishing fire breaks and using thinning and prescribed burns to reduce the fuels that choke forest floors – is environmentally unthinkable to some, and impractical to others.

That leaves Oregon facing the paradox of relying on full fire suppression. But leaping on every fire and putting it out immediately is the practice that helped create the problem in the first place.

Alternatively, Oregon can turn to other, easier measures. It could adopt policies requiring more frequent pre-emptive blackouts by utilities so that downed power lines do not spark fires. Or the state could force updated building codes, regulations on defensible space near structures, and incorporate wildfire risk in land-use planning and zoning.

But those policies won’t stop big fires and are contentious, too. Bills to expand forest treatments across the state, as well as legislation to modernize and bolster the Oregon Department of Forestry’s ability to put down wildfires quickly, went nowhere.

The idea of human-set fire is also apt. Most of the fires burning in Western Oregon today were not caused by lightning, which doesn’t occur during the atmospheric conditions in place Monday. Officials have yet to identify the cause for most of the blazes, saying they are under investigation. But with population increases, particularly in what fire experts call the wildland-urban interface, 70 percent of fires in Oregon today are human caused, and earlier this summer, the percentage was 90 percent, according the Oregon Department of Forestry.

It is feasible that Oregonians can agree on some of the wildfire mitigation and adaptation strategies that the council recommended. Among many others, they include updating building codes, increasing enforceable requirements on defensible space, incorporating wildfire risk in land-use planning and zoning.But those recommendations aren’t universally popular either. Should the requirements apply to new construction vs. retrofits of existing homes? How to assure low-income communities benefit? Do you adopt penalties for neighbors who don’t comply with defensible space?”

This image is from the Oregon Department of forestry.  Click on the diagram to blow it up, you can see the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).


This is a superb article in the NYTimes, entitled Australia’s Witnesses to Fire’s Fury and Desperate to Avoid a Sequel.  Liberal excerpts (since behind paywall):

“Ms. Taylor Mills is one of many who have turned for the first time to local Aboriginal fire experts for help with controlled burns that aim to make the land that didn’t get scorched last year less of a threat. Others, in areas that did burn, have been busy raking up branches and dead trees for preventive burns of their own.

Land clearing has become more common than barbecues. Calls to 000, the equivalent of 911, have been flooding in as people report both preventive burns by their neighbors and those who fail to clean their property of brush and leaves.

The government is actually giving landowners more responsibility. State fire officials recently adopted a series of recommendationsf rom an independent fire inquiry, including a measure requiring that people ensure their properties are safe by clearing land and conducting hazard-reduction burns.

Further changes, to allow for more preventive burning by firefighters and Aboriginal experts, could arrive at the national level later this year.

Interest is already surging. The Walbanja elders who worked with Ms. Taylor Mills — Andrew White, Owen Carriage and Les Simon — said they had received more than 60 requests for help with burns that rely on Aboriginal knowledge to minimize the impact on animals and native plants.

“When you’ve been living with the environment for thousands of years, you know how to read it,” said Mr. Carriage, 67, as he surveyed the burned grass on Ms. Taylor Mills’s property. “You’re a part of it. And fire is a part of it.” “

On the same theme, an article in The Conversation entitled The biggest estate on Earth: how the Aborigines made Australia. Excerpts:

“Aboriginal people worked hard to make plants and animals abundant, convenient and predictable.

By distributing plants and associating them in mosaics, then using these to lure and locate animals, Aborigines made Australia as it was in 1788, when Europeans arrived.

“No fire” because a conscious decision not to burn also regulates plants and animals. They judged equally what to burn and what not, when, how often, and how hot. They cleared undergrowth, and they put grass on good soil, clearings in dense and open forest, and tree or scrub clumps in grassland.

Put simply, farming peoples see differently. Like our draught horses, we wear the blinkers agriculture imposes. Australia is not like the northern Europe from which most early settlers came. Burn Australia’s perennials and they come back green; burn Europe’s annuals and they die.

Again, you can predictably lure and locate Australia’s animals because there were almost no predators, whereas Europe’s many predators scattered prey, so the notion of using fire to locate resources was foreign there.

But above all we don’t see because farmers don’t think like hunter-gatherers. For us “wilderness” lies just beyond our boundaries; for them wilderness does not exist. Until Europeans came, Australia had no wilderness, and no terra nullius.”

Living in harmony with nature

We need to do a better job at living in harmony with nature.  One of the most thought provoking thinkers and journalists on this topic is Dutch filmmaker Marijn Poels.  Marijn has a new documentary forthcoming entitled Return to Eden.  I’ve watched it, it is really good.  STUNNING cinematography.  This is mostly about agriculture and how different cultures relate to the land (and how top-down policies mess things up).  The interviews were fascinating, my favorite was growing food in the Sinai Desert.

Online release is Sept 17

While you’re at it, also watch his previous two climate-related films:

  • The Uncertainty has Settled
  • Paradogma

Post-normal science

If there was ever a case for post-normal science, this is it.  I know, a lot of you get upset because you erroneously confuse ‘post-normal’ with ‘post-modern’ or ‘post-truth.’

Well, ‘normal’ science (such as it is) tells us manmade global warming is causing the fires, with the inference that the solution is to stop burning fossil fuels.

The extended peer communities associated with post-normal science welcomes input from stakeholders and non-traditional experts such as the Aborigines.  American Indians should be a good source of wisdom on fires also.

The saga of Oregon politics surrounding fire reinforces that a broad range of stakeholders need to be involved in policy development and decision making.

There is also much to be learned from the farmers and innovators interviewed in Return to Eden.

CFAN’s fire forecasts

My company CFAN is in the process of rolling out our new Fire Weather Forecast Tool for the U.S.  Here is brief blurb, describing the new product [Fire weather tool overview].  Check it out.

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September 17, 2020 10:23 am

Stratospheric Intrusions commonly follow strong cold fronts and can extend across multiple states. In satellite imagery, Stratospheric Intrusions are identified by very low moisture levels in the water vapor channels (6.2, 6.5, and 6.9 micron). Along with the dry air, Stratospheric Intrusions bring high amounts of ozone into the tropospheric column and possibly near the surface. This may be harmful to some people with breathing impairments. Stratospheric Intrusions are more common in the winter/spring months and are more frequent during La Nina periods.
As stratospheric intrusion falls over the Rocky Mountains, the northeastern wind favors fires. This is the climate of Calfornia and it does not change.

September 17, 2020 10:26 am

I hope we’re allowed to mention the most likely cause — Antifa arsonists.

Glenn Beck presented evidence of this on his radio show Wed 9/16.

Reply to  jdgalt
September 17, 2020 11:12 am
Reply to  john
September 17, 2020 3:02 pm

Moment woman forces suspected arsonist to the ground and holds him at gunpoint outside her Oregon property after she spots box of matches in his hand

Kat Cast held an alleged arsonist at gunpoint on her property until police arrived

Reply to  jdgalt
September 17, 2020 11:24 am

The California ones are mostly attributed to lightning . The creek fire is the one was started by a gender reveal party and is the source Reno’s smoke. Some of the ones in Oregon and Washington are blamed on power lines, but many are ‘unknown’ where arson is suspected. I think they’ve even caught a few people trying to start forest fires.

One thing for sure is that the smoke in the Reno area is heavy. I haven’t been able to see the stars at night or the surrounding mountain tops in many days as the Sun and Moon shine with an orange glow. At times, walking outside is worse than walking in to a smoke filled casino.

The NOAA-20 satellite data is showing many square miles of the dead trees in the Creek fire radiating in excess of 1 GW. I’m not sure over how much area, but the hottest spots of some other fires rarely exceeded 300 MW while some of the slow burning fires come in at 10’s of MW.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
September 17, 2020 12:42 pm

including a measure requiring that people ensure their properties are safe by clearing land and conducting hazard-reduction burns.

From PREVENTING people from clearing their OWN land to protect their OWN property they swing to now MANDATING that you do it. Never miss an opportunity to introduce more centralised dogma instead of letting folks get on with their lives on the basic assumption that they may be motivated to stop their property burning, even if you don’t tell them too.

Reply to  Greg
September 17, 2020 2:02 pm

Mandatory hazard reduction….. for everyone BUT the agencies that manage large areas of public land. National Parks, State Forests, Reserves…..

Western Hiker
Reply to  Greg
September 17, 2020 4:18 pm

Great reasoning, Greg.
Your neighbor could be a slacker, let brush and trees build up on his 1/4 acre. Then an ember lights it up, burning down his house and maybe yours as well if close enough.

But hey, we need to protect his constitutional right to be a slacker! Never mind the risk to others.

Reply to  Western Hiker
September 20, 2020 4:01 am

that’s good that neighbors clear their brush, but the state should lead by example.

Reply to  Greg
September 17, 2020 11:14 pm

Yes, but is from science and experts

Greg West
Reply to  co2isnotevil
September 17, 2020 12:59 pm

Correction: The gender reveal party was the start for the El Dorado Fire, The creek fire has start has not been determined.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
September 17, 2020 1:20 pm

Actually it’s the El Dorado fire down near Yucaipa that was started by a gender reveal party, not the Creek Fire. Cause of the Creek Fire hasn’t been announced but it started near Shaver Lake which is a popular camping area.

Western Hiker
Reply to  co2isnotevil
September 17, 2020 3:58 pm

Enough with the antifa BS. Two of the most destructive fires, the Beachie Creek and Lionshead, had been burning since August 16, started by lightning. Then whipped up by the Sept 6 windstorm. A gust of over 100 mph was measured at 7000’ on Mt. Hood.

Trees and branches fell on powerlines up and down the Cascades western slope, starting dozens of little fires that then exploded into big ones. Confirmed by eyewitnesses, Pacific Power and Local Sheriffs’. Was arson also involved? Of course. Every state has there share of idiots. Definitely not the main contributor though.

Reply to  Western Hiker
September 20, 2020 4:00 am

well when you have so many causes already, arson just piles on up and multiplies the effect.

at any rate, this is why brush needs to be cleared. though to be fair, it sure gets windy some years lately (not all years though, thus not a clear pattern, but still).

Reply to  co2isnotevil
September 17, 2020 10:01 pm

Surely dead trees can still be chipped to feed power generation.

In fact being dead & dry, they should be ideal for burning in power houses, instead of forests.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Hasbeen
September 18, 2020 7:07 am

They might as well burn the wood in wood-fired powerplants. The wood is going to burn one way or another, and all of its CO2 will be released, one way or another. Might as well get some use out of releasing this CO2. If you think about it, burning it in a wood-fired powerplant is carbon dioxide neutral. It doesn’t release any more CO2 than if we left the wood sitting in the wilderness to burn.

Eric Eikenberry
Reply to  co2isnotevil
September 21, 2020 2:01 pm

The “lightning siege” was, in fact, an early-season cold front from the NW Pacific colliding southward with a warm, wet, seasonal high-pressure pumped air mass, overtopped by a jet stream from southwest to northeast. In effect, prime thunderstorm development potential with sufficient ventilation at the top of the T-storm towers to support continuing lightning for longer periods of time. It’s the same setup we see time and again in Tornado Alley, from the plains of east Texas all the way to the Appalachians. There’s no mystery. There are no “climate fires”.

Clay Sanborn
Reply to  jdgalt
September 17, 2020 12:27 pm

But don’t miss the key point, which is that without prescribed burns, fuel accumulates on forest floors to such a point that when fire is introduced, it is a tree killing monster of a fire, very difficult to stop, creates it own weather, and it matters not what/who started the fire at this point because the totally destructive fires are essentially inevitable, even imminent. Lightning becomes the ultimate starter. Smokey Bear has been wrong on this key point. Who/what is truly at fault – the policy that allows fuel to excessively accumulate, or the fire stater, which may be lightning.

Western Hiker
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
September 17, 2020 7:58 pm

Those are valid points, but the problems and solutions are more complicated than most people realize. One example, the woody debris we want to get rid of is like a sponge, sucking up rainfall about 8 months a year. Won’t burn. Then, when the rain finally stops in early summer, the air is so hot and dry and the fuel dries out in a matter of weeks, making controlled burns too dangerous. So, there’s just a small window each year, maybe a month or two, with hundreds of thousands of acres to treat.
Really expensive as well, and bills to appropriate funding have a hard time passing.

The whole thing is a mess.

Clay Sanborn
Reply to  Western Hiker
September 17, 2020 9:24 pm

“The whole thing is a mess”.
Hiker, yes, it really is. PCT?

Western Hiker
Reply to  Clay Sanborn
September 18, 2020 6:16 pm

Maybe 500 miles of it, here and there. Thru hiking is tough to pull off with kids and a job.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Western Hiker
September 17, 2020 10:25 pm

The “mess” is not an insoluble problem. The answer is forest restoration, which means returning the forest to pre-Contact conditions (I prefer pre-Contact to pre-settlement — our landscapes have been settled for thousands of years).

A quoted article above states 60 to 100 trees per acre is desirable. That’s too many. Twenty is plenty. Pre-Contact densities were 1 to 5 trees per acre. Most so-called old-growth stands have only 1 to 5 old (200+ years) trees per acre.

The rest should be removed. That would be highly profitable, or at least pay for itself. The forest floor can then be easily burned, grazed, or masticated. The “leave” trees would then survive and thrive.

The nature purist may object, but without such treatments trees cannot reach old ages or survive fires. Hundreds of thousands of acres of “protected” forests in Oregon just incinerated. No Touch means 100% mortality when the fire hits. It’s difficult for many to understand, but our priceless heritage forests will be (are being) destroyed by an excess of delicacy and preservationism.

Forests are not tree farms. Maximum sawlog growth is not an appropriate goal for forests. Concepts like full stocking and commercial thinning do not apply. Restoration does. The restored forest doesn’t look like a tree farm; it looks like an open woodland.

Restored forests are prepared to receive fire without significant large tree mortality. That’s why pre-Contact forests generated trees that survived to old ages. The thicket forests of today generate catastrophic fire and tick brush.

Western Hiker
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 18, 2020 6:32 pm

@Mike Dubrasich

Smart comment, Thanks.

Should be noted, though, that even pre-contact forests had severe, crown fires from time to time. Not very often and varied by location.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 19, 2020 3:22 pm

Dear Western,

Have you hiked Opal Creek? Breitenbush? Olallie Lakes? All gone. The ancient forests are snag patches now.

The PCT is a chain of burns from Canada to Mexico. The Rogue-Umpqua Divide? Six hundred year-old trees totally roasted. Ditto the Callapooya Divide. Phenomenal old-growth, now dead and gone.

The Chetco has burned 3 times since 1987. Mt. Jeff just received its second megafire since 2003. The Clackamas canyon, Umpqua canyon, McKenzie canyon, North Santiam canyon, and more, some of the greatest steelhead flyfishing rivers in the world, all burned to charcoal and ashes.

I’ve walked all of them. I saw those forests before they were lost. They aren’t coming back. Nothing but tickbrush now, and thickets of seedling trees that will all burn again in 15-20 years. Old-growth is history in Oregon.

The vaunted spotted owl, for which we sacrificed our economy for 30 years, is nearly extinct. Populations have fallen 80% since listing. Big set-asides led to big fire, and the owl stands are no more.

It’s all about grief for me. It’s too late to save the treasures that were Oregon’s heritage forests. Maybe the future will see responsible stewardship, but our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will never see the magnificent forests that have been destroyed by short-sighted, know-nothing, litigious urban enviros.

Western Hiker
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 21, 2020 1:07 pm

Hello Mike,

I’m REALLY familiar with the area around Mt. Jefferson, not so much the other areas you mentioned. My very favorite – Pamelia Lake, and the trail that leads from there to Hunts Cove, appears to be OK. (Could be wrong and keeping my fingers crossed). So sad!

“The vaunted spotted owl, for which we sacrificed our economy for 30 years, is nearly extinct. Populations have fallen 80% since listing. Big set-asides led to big fire, and the owl stands are no more.”

You could be right, but realize the wind event was extremely rare. Strongest Easterly ever recorded during summer.


Most of my recent adventures have been up north in Washington. Huge areas of old-growth still intact. Enchanted Valley is closest to pre-contact you will ever see.

Steven F
Reply to  Western Hiker
September 18, 2020 10:15 am

“So, there’s just a small window each year, maybe a month or two”

So very true. in the west coast this works out to months of september and november. The only months were rain can be expected with the ground dry enough for excess fuels to burn. Somehow we need to get everything ready and then set tens of thousands of acres burning just before it rains.

The only easy low cost solution I see is to identify a forest surrounded by roads that can be used as fire breaks. Then in september or november wait for the forecast to show a very high probability of rain in a couple of days. Then air drop a small number of fire bombs. This would creat a situation similar to this year except in a couple of days the rain comes and fires go out.

That is the only way I can see that we could quickly reduce fuel load without enduring months of hazardous air and and the high cost no one can afford. And in September we already have fire crews available to monitor the fires from road fire lines. so the cost would be about the same as what we are spending now. And if a area is gets spot burns every 5 yearsis could start to look like the ancient forests we in about 20 to 30 years.

Walt D.
Reply to  jdgalt
September 17, 2020 2:32 pm

If we eliminate all fossil fuels, then they will not be able to make Molotov cocktails to start the fires! (sarc)

September 17, 2020 10:27 am

All the indicators, graphs, and warning signs are point to the same existential threat of……..California policy being imposed on the rest of us. Something evil (and idiotic) this way comes.

Timothy R Robinson
September 17, 2020 10:30 am

Managing the Impact of Wildfires

on Communities and the Environment

The global warming people should look at this report that was issued by President Clinton and Vice President Gore. It shows exactly why we have these large fires and how we can reduce their size and numbers. I’m sure that their is a more updated report to the President, since this is a ongoing research. President Trump suggested one of the ways, raking the forest, which means to rid the forest floor of needles and small branches.

A Report to the President

In Response to the Wildfires of 2000

September 8, 2000

Ruby's Dad
Reply to  Timothy R Robinson
September 17, 2020 11:06 am

OK, while I wholeheartedly agree that all this hysteria about human sourced CO2 causing Mega Fires is silly, I also can’t let this fantasy about “raking the forest, which means to rid the forest floor of needles and small branches” go past without comment. Maybe that works for highly-curated forests in Europe but it is wholly impractical in the vast acreages of the Western US as it would require ridiculous amounts of labor. Just keeping my property here in Oregon reasonably clear of the woody debris that emanate from my 2+ acre Dougie Fir forest is a constant job and thank god I have a John Deere utility tractor with a rotary brush to help me on the driveway…

Timothy R Robinson
Reply to  Ruby's Dad
September 17, 2020 7:44 pm

I know what you mean. I live at Lake Cushman in Washington. I have the forest all around me and it is full of dead standing trees, ages old old branches and ground growth everywhere, it is impossible to keep up ,or even put a niche in it.
But for the forest service, that is what they do. There are three type of raking. One type is the common raking of leaves and twigs. One is turning over the soil to create a fire break, and another is controlled burning.
Controlled burning is where you go into high hazard areas and burn out the debris. This makes the job much easier than actually raking by hand.

Ruby's Dad
Reply to  Timothy R Robinson
September 18, 2020 8:36 am

Exactly! Controlled burning, thinning, etc. is the only plausible way to go. Our federal government should also make a concerted public-works-style effort to deal with all the beetle-killed trees since there isn’t much of a commercial incentive for private interests to do so – wouldn’t surprise me if simply dropping a lot of the standing ones would make a big difference vis-a-vis firestorms. That would have the added bonus of providing much needed work for rural westerners.

September 17, 2020 10:46 am

Alarmists continually throw out terms like unprecedented, new normal, catastrophic, etc. to control the narrative but just a little research reveals the truth they are trying to hide. How they can continually get away with misinformation is a crime. The current US West Coast wildfires are indeed terrible but not out of the ordinary/average by any means.

Reply to  markl
September 17, 2020 1:30 pm

If a lot of acres burn in one year, that’s climate change. Like in 2020.

If not many acres burn, that’s weather. Like in 2019.

You must learn the difference between climate change and weather.

Reply to  Richard Greene
September 17, 2020 11:19 pm

And “climate change” only happens occasionally,

…. when it suits the AGW scam to make moronic zero-fact, zero-science SCARY statements.

Mike Dubrasich
September 17, 2020 10:59 am

There are five megafires burning in Oregon right now. Most years we don’t get any over 100,000 acres. At least 8 towns have been severely damaged, thousands of homes destroyed, and at least 12 fatalities have occurred. At least; the final counts will not be known for weeks or months

All the megafires in Oregon started on incredibly mismanaged Federal land. Some were Let It Burn fires ignited by lightning in mid-August. Some were arson. Almost all have burned unkempt, un-managed, Fed land and progressed dozens of miles before they reached private land. The Feds own 53% of the land in Oregon. That’s more than half.

Oregon residents have been calling for active management of public lands for more than 30 years, but we have no say in how most of our state is managed. We don’t choose the managers, we don’t write the Plans, we have no vote in anything that happens on 53% of our state.

It’s not democracy. It’s not even “Democratic Socialism”. It’s tyranny pure and simple. We are treated like a colony. Our overseers are appointed from thousands of miles away. We are locked out of our own lands that are ravaged by strangers who don’t live here, have never seen them, and never will. We suffer disasters induced by nameless political apparatchiks with puny intellects and corrupt agendas.

I appreciate that folks living far, far away have some passing concern. Why don’t you give us our land back? Cede the land back to us as required by the Oregon Admission Act of 1859. We’ll deal with our land in our own way. We don’t want your “help” any more. We don’t want your interference. Make like a tree and leave.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 17, 2020 11:30 am
John F Hultquist
Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 17, 2020 1:57 pm

Link makes mention of CA, WA, & OR.

Very interesting. Bunch of nuts out there.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 17, 2020 11:59 am

This is slightly related to Social Security: We often hear how Social Security is going to go bankrupt, yet the Feds own over HALF of everything west of the Mississippi river! Something tells me I would have a hard time declaring bankruptcy while owning valuable assets (excepting my primary residence, I assume).
The Feds needs to sell real estate to the SSA – for the T Bills the SSA holds. The Feds should then burn the T Bills.
The SSA should be mandated to maximize the value of the land they take over: Sell it, lease it, or rent it. Also, build in some disincentives for the SSA to continue to own the land. They need carrot-and-stick incentives to help the trust fund and put the Fed Govt out of business as a landlord.
I read once that just the Fed land in the vicinity of San Fran could be worth a king’s ransom.

Reply to  Matthew Schilling
September 17, 2020 1:26 pm

Wonder which central Asian country would be most interested in buying a huge chunk of America?

Steven F
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
September 18, 2020 10:35 am

One slight problem much of the federal land is federally owned for one simple reason. No one wants to buy it. The areas south of San Francisco that burned this year is extremely rough terrain. steep hill sides and very deep ravines. It is difficult to log and just building the logging roads would cost as much as the marketable timber harvested. Additionally some of the land is unstable and land slides frequently occur along the few roads that cut trough it. As a result much of the land could not be sold and was set aside state and local parks. Same applies to many of the areas that have burned this year.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 17, 2020 1:51 pm

Public agencies, both state and federal, know how to better manage land to reduce fires. Society via elections has said otherwise.
Oregon elects Democrats (See Wyden and Markley; and Bonamici, Blumenauer, DeFazio, and Schrader).
Why not elect members of Congress and task them with giving land managers the responsibility, tools, and finances to do what you think they should.
I’m not picking on Oregon here, California and Washington are no better.

Paul Hessburg TED Talk

Paul worked out of Wenatchee, WA. We have been to one of the “North Forty” public presentations.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  John F Hultquist
September 17, 2020 4:32 pm


At some point the people have to accept that it is *their* responsibility.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 17, 2020 4:30 pm

The private property damage is being done on State controlled land. They can deny it, they can try to place the blame elsewhere, but they can’t change reality.

There are no towns on federal lands. There are very few private households on federal lands.

It’s up to the state to take care of state land surrounding towns and residences, not the feds. Put the blame where it really lies.

Steven F
Reply to  Tim Gorman
September 18, 2020 10:45 am

Most of the forest that burned this year started on federal lands and then spread into private property. Many of the fires burned for weeks because we didn’t hav the resource to send crews to many of the small remote fires that were burning. Then the weather changed and these small slow fires became raging infernos that burn about a mile of land a minute.

You cannot put all the blame on one group or entity. Each has made mistakes (including the federal government) of the last 100years And now all of them need to work together to come up with solutions to the many problems we now have. Blaming others does not solve the problem the state and federal government need to work together.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 18, 2020 11:42 am

Welcome to Central Planning! Soviet style.

Western Hiker
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
September 18, 2020 6:52 pm

“Let It Burn fires ignited by lightning in mid-August.”

Not quite accurate. Roadless areas, and dangerous to fight by bootstrap, but those fires were attacked with water and chemical drops by air.

Joseph Zorzin
September 17, 2020 11:11 am

“The material also can be burned at biomass plants to make electricity, but those are polluting and controversial in many communities.” They aren’t necessarily polluting. Most modern biomass power plants use the latest technology to minimize air pollution. They are controversial in some areas but for false reasons.

Joseph Zorzin
September 17, 2020 11:14 am

Off subject- sorry- but, more lies from RealClimate: “New studies confirm weakening of the Gulf Stream circulation (AMOC)”

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 17, 2020 12:27 pm

I’m not on the actual level, RAPID: monitoring the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26.5°N since 2004
My impression is, they need a lot of time to update their files, and than, the complete set of data has changed in all positions. My last file download was from Mar. 19, data ended in 2017, now I found one ending in 2018, but with different numbers: you will find here
A 13 month running mean shows an acceleration starting in May 2010.

HD Hoese
Reply to  Krishna Gans
September 17, 2020 3:41 pm
I made a B in physical oceanography, don’t recall this being allowed. Did they measure everything but the current? I saw some other stuff, but leave that to the math types.

Paper [Likely weakening of the Florida Current during the past century revealed by sea-level observations] —“In designing the Bayesian algorithm, I assumed that the regression coefficient between sea level and transport is time invariant (see “Methods” section). To test whether this assumption is reasonable, I analyze sea level and transport simulated by an ocean circulation model 52 over 1871–2010 in the time and frequency domains. …. However, the two reanalyses give conflicting estimates of long-term trends in Sverdrup transport (Fig. 6b; Supplementary Fig. 10)……..For 1900–2010, one reanalysis 61 gives a weaker northward trend (1.9 ± 2.0 Sv century−1), while the other 62 produces a stronger southward trend…….Thus, while they do not paint a consistent portrait of whether the interior gyre strengthened or weakened over the past century, reanalyses suggest that long-term trends in gyre transports of several Sv century−1 are possible.”

Methods–“This allows for rigorous hypothesis testing through simulation experiments.”
Conclusions–“Future studies should build on this foundation. Uncertainties on this Florida Current transport estimate are large.”

From WHOI Press release–“The Florida Current, which forms the start of the Gulf Stream, has slowed over the past century and is the slowest it has been at any point in the past 110 years.” When I made my B we looked up to WHOI.

Reply to  HD Hoese
September 18, 2020 2:48 am

I don’t understand this reliance on models. The Florida Current has been measured since 1982 using a decommissioned undersea cable running between Vero Beach FL and Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahamas Island. The ocean water is a conductor, so water motion through the Earth’s magnetic field induces a voltage across the water. The cable provides a circuit to measure this voltage, which is directly related to the average water velocity.

Give direct measurements of the water flow, why use models?

Reply to  pls
September 18, 2020 6:35 am

Models give the data they want, not so measurements.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  pls
September 18, 2020 7:18 am

“The Florida Current has been measured since 1982 using a decommissioned undersea cable running between Vero Beach FL and Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahamas Island.”

Thanks for that info, pls. I never heard of this until now.

September 17, 2020 11:31 am

Animals live in weather.
Trees live in climate. They can’t move.
Forests are their own microclimate.
The western forests are known to be thousands of years old. Just count the rings.
A forest can move its range/boundry, but will not if the climate remains the same.
Those forests have been in the same place for thousands of years.
Therefore the western climate has not changed in thousands of years.

Tom Foley
Reply to  bwegher
September 17, 2020 3:24 pm

Bwegher: The corollary of this is, if the climate is changing now, the forests are stuck. As you say, they can’t move, or at least not fast enough to adapt. If more fires are due to climate change, and more fires impact the survival of forests in some places, maybe this would be a mechanism by which climate change could shift forests?

I’m not arguing that the climate is changing, or causing more fires, just suggesting that your argument that the climate has not changed in thousands of years (because the forests have been in the same place), does not mean it is not changing now.

Reply to  Tom Foley
September 17, 2020 5:00 pm

Anything can change. That’s the entire issue.
The null hypothsis says there is no change.
If someone wants to say there has been a change, they can prove it.
See Koeppen, he was a botanist, wrote the book on climate.
The whole idea of a mature ecosystem is that is does not change rapidly. Homeostasis.
The last 30 years show no chage in the climate of N. California.
The last 30 centuries shows no change in the climate of N. California.
What has changed in 2020 that suggests the next 30 years will be different from the last 30 years, or the last 3000 years?
Plowing a field does not change a climate, the native grasses will return after plowing stops.
Drop an atomic bomb on Sacramento, the climate does not change. In 30 years there will be a forest. The boreal forest around Tunguska shows no change in climate, the forest is still there.

Reply to  bwegher
September 19, 2020 1:53 am

Sacramento was built in a swamp.

It doesn't add up...
September 17, 2020 12:41 pm
James Clarke
September 17, 2020 12:57 pm

The most remarkable thing about all these claims from the politicians and the press that climate change is to blame, Is that none of them provide any evidence that the climate has changed at all! There are no temperature graphs over the last 100 years presented. There are no rainfall graphs over the last 100 years presented. Only endless claims that the climate has changed. The lack of supporting evidence is so conspicuously absent that it is hard to believe that anyone would believe them at all!

September 17, 2020 1:22 pm

Beetle kill.
We know that global warming has reduced the chill hours beetle larvae have to tolerate, and greatly exascerbated this problem. If the predicted 4-5 decades of cooler weather (“solar minimum”) come to pass, the forests killed by cold-sensitive insects will have a good chance to regrow.
It is imperative that we get Smokey back to tell stories of arsonists, and teach them this is NOT “controlled burning.” Before the current dead trees burn out the young replacments, so badly needed.

September 17, 2020 1:58 pm

Shouldn’t our modern, elevated CO2 levels be accelerating the accumulation of fuel for these fires by enabling more rapid growth of trees/shrubs/etc? We know that at higher CO2 levels, plants (generally) are more drought tolerant, and of course grow faster. What if CO2’s only real impact on fires was not temperature-related, but plant growth related? If this were true, then controlled burns should be done at perhaps a more rapid cadence than we originally thought.

September 17, 2020 2:32 pm

assuming 30-40 years of “global cooling” is coming, the beetle kill problem should at least be temporarilly eliminated.
It is crucial to get Smokey the Bear active again, teaching the youngers that arson is not “contolled burns.” Also, as the new trees start to replace the dead trees, it will be crucial to remove the tinder so they are not killed young.
I love how the “fireproof” barks of young pines in Florida survive our controlled burns so well. Some Florida naives, like wire grass, cannot reproduce without fire, and other areas have similar needs.

September 17, 2020 2:41 pm

If every publication mandated hard evidence before publishing climate related claims it would send most of the “chicken littles” to the unemployed ranks.

September 17, 2020 2:41 pm

OT but of interest to smart meters users
quote: Smart meters could allow energy networks to switch off central heating systems under proposals being considered by the watchdog.
The plans, tabled by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), would allow distributors to contact consumers directly to ask for permission to temporarily turn off appliances with high usage, including heat pumps and electric vehicle chargers.
There are fears that mass uptake of these green technologies will put pressure on the energy network./end quote
Today voluntary, tomorrow compulsory.

September 17, 2020 3:02 pm

Let’s stop using and letting people get away with using the term “megafires.” I am now seeing the term everywhere I turn. The prefix “mega” means “million.” While it can also mean huge, mega connotes million to most people. The implication is that a single fire has burned 1 million acres or 1 million hectares or more. UNPRECEDENTED!!!! No. All of the fires in Oregon thus far this year combined don’t quite total 1 million acres (1.6% of the state). Megafire is just another scare word that climate alarmists employ to frighten people into believing the CAGW meme. Yes, several of the wildfires are very large (close to 200,000 acres), and I sympathize with those caught in the middle, but they are NOT unprecedented.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  pflashgordon
September 17, 2020 3:16 pm
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
September 17, 2020 5:42 pm

Mega connotes million to moderns, or at least stupendously big. Megabytes, megawatts, … of course any word or prefix can have numerous definitions., and most derive from early languages.

But it took me about 30 seconds on the Internet to find this news byte, “ … authorities warned the state was trapped in a “megafire era” triggered by climate change.”

Reply to  pflashgordon
September 18, 2020 8:30 am

Wouldn’t call this a mega-fire, but a big one in 1871 Wisconsin:

Steve Safigan
September 17, 2020 3:33 pm

Unfortunately, making increasingly hyperbolic claims about climate change was starting to work politically before COVID, and the wildfires and hurricanes will give them momentum coming out of it. Further hurting climate rationalism is that– given the TRILLIONS the U.S. and other countries have spent with no corresponding painful spending cuts or tax increases–people are getting used to the word “trillions” and most have a hard time visualizing such a vast cost. Add it up and we can expect to see a multi-trillion dollar plan to “fight climate change” soon with significant political support, and not just from liberal politicians.

It doesn't add up...
September 17, 2020 4:10 pm

The BBC’s Daily Climate today was a piece on the Siberian fires, which they blamed on hot temperatures. Of course the fires were thawing the permafrost and releasing unspecified GHGs which together with the CO2 from burning means that it will be even hotter with more fires.

No prizes for those who can offer a critique of this picture.

Reply to  It doesn't add up...
September 18, 2020 12:10 am

I very much doubt that the current fires are as extensive as those that occurred there in 1914 that burned unchecked throughout the whole summer and autumn and were only halted by the rains and snows of early winter. The book on weather and climate that I read about them stated that the amount of smoke created was greater than that calculated by Carl Sagan to be generated by a nuclear war and that therefore Sagan’s Nuclear Winter hypothesis was wrong. But of course the current fires are “unprecedented”.

Mike Maguire
September 17, 2020 4:58 pm

California drought: Past dry periods have lasted more than 200 years, scientists say

California projected to get wetter through this century

The Dust Bowl

They are taking extremes today………..that have been worse before and applying them only to very recent, optimal conditions that people remember and using that bias and lack of honest perspective (and complete disregard for objective/authentic science) as propaganda to convince people to believe in a fake climate crisis.

September 17, 2020 11:42 pm

California should be ready for La Nina.
Latest Southern Oscillation Index values
SOI values for 18 Sep, 2020
Average SOI for last 30 days 9.72
Average SOI for last 90 days 5.91
Daily contribution to SOI calculation 12.84
Monthly average SOI values
Jun -9.13
Jul 4.25
Aug 8.39

Matthew Sykes
September 18, 2020 1:44 am

In France you have to thin trees around your house if you live in the forest, by law.

Roger Knights
September 18, 2020 6:15 am

The ban on logging, to protect the spotted owl, is a big contributor to this mess.

September 18, 2020 7:46 am

Not to make fun, just brought back memories, but this is the best “fire” song (1968):

ht/ The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

Dennis G Sandberg
September 19, 2020 1:30 pm

Arsonists in California have expanded their city burning to forest burning. Coddling criminals is our biggest problem here in the land of fruits and nuts. Not the 1 degree of warming that’s occurred in the last 100 years as the earth recovers from the little ice age.

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