National Public Radio’s Misinformation on Wildfires and Climate: Part 1

By Jim Steele

Each day I attempt to synthesize curiously divergent views in the news. In the morning I listen to National Public Radio (NPR) and in the evening I watch Fox News. However, I’m increasingly disturbed by NPR’s unbalanced reporting on wildfires. With every wildfire report, NPR now adds climate crisis comment but ignores wildfire science. I learned more about heat transfer and wildfires as a boy scout. I also expanded my wildfire science as an ecologist researching California’s Sierra Nevada ecosystems for 30 years and I must say an honest NPR would focus on the 3 major issues needed to minimize wildfire devastation.

  1. Minimize human ignitions.
  2. Improve ground fuel management.
  3. Remove introduced annual grasses.

Politicians and media journalists that claim reducing CO2 will save us from bigger wildfires are only exacerbating public fears and promoting ineffective policies.

As a Boy Scout I was dropped off in a snow-covered Maine wilderness with temperatures below 32°F. My task was to build a life-saving campfire with only one match. Survival required finding enough flammable fuel. Fortunately, there was an abundance of small dead twigs on the lowest branches of most trees. With ample airflow, those small diameter fuels (A) are reliably ignited with a single match. Wildfire experts refer to small twigs, pine needles and dead grasses as 1-hour lag fuels because those fuels sufficiently dry out in an hour of dry weather, with or without global warming. Varying abundances of 1‑hour fuels determine how readily wildfires ignite and spread. Thus, during fire season wildfire experts assess 1‑hour fuels daily. Though easily ignited, twigs or dead grass have very little mass to sustain a fire. So, to build my survival fire I carefully added a layer of slightly larger sticks (B) that could be quickly ignited before heat from my twigs was exhausted. Added sticks can’t be too large. Larger branches and logs will absorb small amounts of heat without igniting.

My one match generated temperatures exceeding 1000 °F, but only for a short time. But with the right balance of 1‑hour fuels and sticks for kindling, my survival fire was secured. Ample kindling is the key to igniting and sustaining every large fire. In California, accumulating ground fuels supplied the kindling allowing a spark from a tire rim scraping asphalt to ignite dead roadside grasses, that then expanded into the large Carr Fire. A spark from a rancher driving a stake into the ground ignited the surrounding dead grass, igniting California’s 2nd largest fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire, even though regional maximum temperatures had been 3°F cooler than the 1930s. Sparks from powerlines in November caused California’s deadliest Camp Fire; and powerlines likewise ignited California’s largest 2021 fire, the Dixie Fire.

All those conflagrations were caused by human ignitions, and experts calculate that 84% percent of America’s wildfires are started by humans. Good science cannot attribute an increase in wildfires to climate change unless it first accounts for increased human ignitions.  Additionally, once ignited, fires produce such tremendous heat, ground fuels are readily dried out as the fire approaches. Swaths of burning grasses make great kindling, generating temperatures reaching 1400°F which easily ignites accumulated ground fuels and shrubbery. Those ground fuels then generate temperatures reaching 2000°F. Claims that an insignificant 2°F increase from global warming makes wildfires bigger and more intense appears to be politicized fear mongering.  My survival fire started in below freezing temperatures and major conflagrations burned during the Little Ice Age.  So best to prevent increased ignitions by burying powerlines and by removing 1‑hour fuels from roadsides.

In NPR’s defense, gullible journalists are fed cherrypicked “science” from researchers seeking fame and fortune by promoting climate crises. Naïve journalists are provided graphs of “unprecedented” increasing wildfire trends, but only since 1970. The longer‑term trend, as exemplified by Oregon Department of Forestry, is rarely publicized widely. Furthermore crafty researchers blame global warming by showing how it theoretically dries out fire fuels, but simple good physics then gets grossly misapplied.

For example, widespread invasive annual grasses have also increased landscape aridity, and increased the probability of ignitions and increased burnt area extent. Non‑native cheatgrass earned its name because it grows during the winter and early spring, consuming soil moisture and depriving native grasses. By growing in the west’s moister winter season, cheatgrass expanded into arid regions where extensive grasslands had been prohibited. Added carpets of flammable cheatgrass engulfed sagebrush ecosystems, covering bare ground that had once limited large or frequent fires. And carpets of cheatgrass can easily carry fires into forests and other ecosystems.

In contrast native perennial grasses growing during the summer maintained high moisture content and didn’t go dormant until late August. Their high moisture content reduced the probability of both grass fire ignitions and its spread. But native grasses were soon out‑competed by moisture hoarding cheatgrass which dies, dries, and becomes highly flammable by April and May. As landscapes became dominated by cheatgrass, the fire season intensified and expanded by 2-3 months. Although NPR had once mentioned the destructive effects of invasive grasses, NPR now pushes climate change. But the drying out of western grasslands is not due to climate change. Its due to natural weather cycles and the landscapes’ conversions to moisture sucking invasive annuals. Finally, cheatgrass conversion correlates too well with maps of western USA’s most active fire regions. Restoring native grasslands would be another best practice to reduce the west’s larger wildfires.

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism, and proud member of CO2 Coalition

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Hoyt Clagwell
August 8, 2021 10:38 pm

To paraphrase Garrison Keillor; “Welcome to California, where ALL the wildfire seasons are above average!”

Loydo
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
August 9, 2021 4:12 am

Have you analysed the voting patterns of pyromaniacs? And if so, when conservative voters light fires what’s their motivation?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 4:21 am

That’s the first time I’ve agree with Loydo. Well, there’s a turn up for the books.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
August 9, 2021 4:59 am

😛 I have to agree!

MarkW
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
August 9, 2021 8:21 am

The Rocketeer was a really corny movie, but there is one scene that has stuck with me.
The FBI and a group of mafia are having a shoot out near the Griffith Observatory (As an aside, why does almost every movie that is place in or around LA, manage to get at least one scene at the Griffith Observatory?) when a group of Nazi’s show up. The FBI and mafia stop shooting at each other and both start shooting at the Nazi’s. The head FBI guy looks at the head mafia guy, who say’s something like “I hate Nazis”.

Ingraham, like the Nazi’s. So bad that he can bring enemies together.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 10:13 am

Great analogy

MarkW
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 8:22 am

ingraham has declared that conservatives agree with him regarding peak oil.
Everyone else is a socialist.

David Long
August 8, 2021 11:36 pm

Another thing about cheatgrass is that it forms a solid, thick carpet. The native grasses it has replaced are bunch grasses which do not spread fire as easily even when dry.

Devils tower
Reply to  David Long
August 9, 2021 1:56 am

And remember the California ecological disaster of eucalyptus trees, discussed here before…..

https://www.kqed.org/science/4209/eucalyptus-california-icon-fire-hazard-and-invasive-species

Mike Dubrasich
August 8, 2021 11:43 pm

With all due respect, and I mean that, may I offer a nuanced different view. I agree with many of the statements: NPR is unbalanced and wrong, “global warming” does not cause wildfires, and cheatgrass is a pernicious weed. I respectfully question Mr. Steele’s prescription for minimizing wildfire devastation, however.

First, it is misleading to conflate ignition source with fire extent and severity. Unprecedented fuel concentrations and fuel continuity are responsible for the size and damage fires cause, regardless of ignition source. Humans have ignited fires for millennia and continue to do so. We cannot eliminate human beings. Despite the cases mentioned, and many more unmentioned wildfires caused by deliberate arson, year after year the bulk of the acres burned are lightning ignited. “Minimizing human ignitions” is not possible, and even if it was achievable, lightning would still ignite devastating megafires in our fuel-laden landscapes.

Second, improving ground fuel management is a worthy goal, but note that dense canopy forests carry fire in the crowns. Grass fires are hot and spread quickly, but fire in the tree tops generate fire storms and blow large embers for miles. Grass is a foot or two tall. Trees are 100 feet tall and more. When a fire crowns in a forest, there is no stopping it. Grass fires are quickly re-vegetated by new grass. Forest fires devastate all resources (soils, water, wildlife, etc.) and take decades to re-vegetate. Managing ground fuels is not enough. The aerial fuels ( i.e. the crowns) must also be managed by spacing trees — thinning canopies — to prevent crown-to-crown fire spread.

Third, removing introduced annual grasses is also a worthy goal, though it is nearly impossible to do so. Herbicides might be effective, but it is unlikely that millions of acres of introduced grasses can or should be sprayed. Other treatments may not eliminate the invasives but will minimize their impact. These include prescribed fire in stands or tracts prepared to receive fire and be resilient to it by prior thinning, piling, mulching, and other mechanical means, and enhanced grazing by livestock to reduce grass cover and continuity. Again though, it’s native brush and trees that constitute the bulk of the fuels in most “wildlands”. They must also be managed to prevent devastating landscape-scale fires.

N.B.– my background is not necessarily emblematic or support for my contentions, but for what it’s worth I have been a professional forester for nearly 50 years, with clients large and small, private and public, have practiced in all the states in the Western US, have multiple degrees, was founder and Ex Dir of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment, and have extensive on-the-ground experience with forests and wildfires. And I was also a Boy Scout.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mike Dubrasich
Jim Steele
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
August 9, 2021 1:12 am

MIke, I’m not sure why you say “it is misleading to conflate ignition source with fire extent and severity. Unprecedented fuel concentrations and fuel continuity are responsible for the size and damage fires cause, regardless of ignition source.”

I totally agree fuel concentrations and fuel continuity drive larger fires.Invasive annual grasses do exactly that. Grasses and other 1 hour fuels are given priority in fire spread modeling for that reason. In addition invasive grasses are most easily ignited, whether the source is human or lightning. But I disagree that we cannot minimize human ignitions. Burying power lines would be one example. Some of the biggest California fires were started by electric griid prooblems.

I also agree crown fires are more likely to spread embers, but I disagree that thinning the canopy is the solution. Crown fires require ladder fuels that are ignited by flaming ground fuels, Those fuels most often accumulate due to fire suppression. And those accumulate ground fuels are typically ignited by 1-hour fuels that carry the fire into the forest.Managiing ladder fuels works. BTW Closed canopies often suppress fire by maintaining moisture via shade. Nonetheless fire extent is overwhelmingly driven by grassland and shrubland fires. See attached graphic from Keeley 2015

Lastly invasive grasses make up more of the veg than you suggest. As I am reporting in part 2, forest are a mosaic of habitat and in the Klamath Mtns of northern California “annual grasses composed the majority of species and made up approximately 17% percent of the total vegetative cover, and cover was 40% in almost a quarter of the plots and as high as 80%.” Indeed removing invasive grasses is problematic, but needs to be done and considered. Disturbances like clearing for high voltage transmission lines, make fire breaks, roadsides, and eveen prescribed burns all favor invasive grasses. Because cheat grass germinates late winter grazing can be used to reduce those winter annuals combined with seeding native perennials that maintain their moisture throughout much of the summer.

Area Cal burned by habitat Keeley 2015.png
cerescokid
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 9, 2021 1:46 am

Jim and Mike

You are both top notch, knowledgeable professionals. I enjoyed the discussion of a very complex issue.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  cerescokid
August 9, 2021 8:19 pm

Mark’s comments are more inane than Griff’s, leading me leading me to believe that “he” is a new chat-bot based trolling AI.

DonM
Reply to  Komerade Cube
August 11, 2021 2:05 pm

No,

Simply an A … maybe an AH.

Last edited 1 month ago by DonM
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 9, 2021 10:20 am

Burying power lines would be one example. Some of the biggest California fires were started by electric griid prooblems.

I’m of the opinion that burying power lines is not a practical or economic solution for many California power lines. For example, the ignition point for the devastating Paradise fire was in the Feather River Canyon near Pulga. The hillsides are very steep, the canyon is narrow, and much of the bedrock is serpentinite (The California state rock.) Serpentinite only supports sparse vegetation, which with the steep slopes, means that there are thin layers of soil, at best. The canyon is already filled with a rail line, a road, the river, and (currently) transmission lines. There is no way that trenching machinery can cling to the sides of the river canyon, even if it could trench the rock, which turns to more challenging granodiorite farther up the canyon. What we are talking about is either tunneling, or using explosives to trench in the rock. Of course, using explosives in that environment is problematic both because of the risk of starting a fire, and the necessity to close the road and rail line periodically during the long construction project. There is also a potential of interrupting electrical service both during blasting and the transitioning of services.

It is relatively trivial to trench in the Sacramento Valley where the soils are deep, and they are underlain by unconsolidated sediments. However, hydroelectric generating stations are, by necessity, largely located in rugged terrain along and east of the Mother Lode. Also, because we are talking about high voltage, we aren’t talking about narrow trenches! Consider the span of typical high voltage towers. Something comparable would be necessary for the trench(s).

Few things are truly impossible. However, I don’t think that the economics of burying power lines in the mountains has been given adequate thought.

Jim Steele
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 9, 2021 11:30 am

I know the Pulga area well, and I agree burying power lines would not always be feasible in many places. Burying is just one tool in the toolbox

Loydo
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
August 9, 2021 4:28 am

“global warming” does not cause wildfires

No one says it does. You almost spoilt your good work with a hackneyed strawman. What is correctly said is that widfires are made more severe: if the air is warmer the fuel is warmer and dryer and the fire is more severe. The trend of increasing severity will continue for the forseeable future.

To bed B
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 5:35 am

Acres burnt
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
5.5 10 8.8 4.7 20.1 million
And the temperature anomaly for summer months in the US
1.85 1.67 2.12 0.44 0.78 F

So same average burnt whether half a degree or two above what is supposed to be normal, and about 4 times that in a year over a degree cooler, despite 10% less fires started.

https://crsreports.congress.gov

There is no way of attributing a day 20 degree hotter than the average in a region to global warming of 2 F in a century when it was common a century ago.

And while we can say that numbers of unintentionally lit fires by humans or lightning is a roughly constant variable, and those averages are for 50 to 70 fires a year, what is not is the urge for a small number of people to intentionally light a fire when conditions are most dangerous. Its a small, highly variable number and one twit can cause a 12 million acre fire.

“It is believed that the disaster began in Plenty Ranges (Australia) when a couple of bullock drivers left logs burning unattended, which set fire to long, dry grass affected by the recent drought. The year preceding the fires was exceptionally hot and dry and this trend continued into 1851”

Rick C
Reply to  To bed B
August 9, 2021 8:38 am

In western US fires it is not the air temperature that matters. It is the wind that drives fires and makes them move faster and burn hotter. The largest fires are driven by katabatic wind which comes from high elevation cold dense air flowing down the mountain slows and gaining speed and warming by compression in the process. These winds have occurred annually for as long as there have been mountains. They are hot and dry and have no connection to climate change or average annual local temperature. You cannot stop the wind and you can’t prevent fire ignitions natural or human caused – but you can control the fuel sufficiently to mitigate the damage to some degree.

Rick C
Reply to  Rick C
August 9, 2021 11:30 am

…oops, mountain slopes

To bed B
Reply to  To bed B
August 9, 2021 1:34 pm

Sorry to readers for not picking up all autocorrect changes from acerage to average.

fretslider
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 5:57 am

What is correctly said is that wildfires are made more severe

But what they don’t say is why that is.

It’s rewilding, pure and simple. No management. Let nature get on with it and she does.

Even the Australian Aborigines weren’t that stupid.

Last edited 1 month ago by fretslider
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 7:02 am

F.e. Rahmstorf PIK always connects wild fires with GW heat(waves)
He also always can’t imagine that hot air may also be wet air.

MarkW
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 8:24 am

If you could demonstrate that the weather in CA is the result of global warming, that would be nice.
Hot dry summers has been a characteristic of CA since back when native Americans were the only ones enjoying it’s climate.
According to the geological record, the current drought is a piker compared to droughts of the not to distant past.

Secondly, you utterly ignore the author’s point about 1-hour fuels.
Most of the stuff that is burning, dried out in the first few weeks of summer starting. No matter how hot the summer gets, they won’t get any drier. Once the fire starts in this material, the fire will dry out everything else and burn it.

The claim that longer hotter summers means more and bigger fires is just a myth concocted by those who know nothing about fires or fire management.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 10:23 am

Did you even bother to read Jim’s article?

 Additionally, once ignited, fires produce such tremendous heat, ground fuels are readily dried out as the fire approaches.

To bed B
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
August 9, 2021 4:53 am

“Despite the cases mentioned, and many more unmentioned wildfires caused by deliberate arson, year after year the bulk of the acres burned are lightning ignited.”

At least here in Australia, it’s only because of grass fires in semi-arid regions that are started by lightning and burn millions of acres of grass that you can make that claim. It was used to debunk claims that the severe fires season in 19/20 was due to human ignition, especially deliberate. But that season was not exceptional for the acerage of grass fires burnt. It was bad because of forest fires nearer population centres. These are the ones making the news.

fretslider
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
August 9, 2021 5:51 am

Save the pyrophiles

Doonman
August 9, 2021 12:15 am

When’s the last time you saw Smokey the Bear on TV?

He knew all about human ignition a long time ago.

Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.

Kenji
Reply to  Doonman
August 9, 2021 9:07 am

That was before an “enlightened” Forest Service told us it was good to let a huge swath of Yellowstone to burn … because it’s “natural”. That fire is needed for certain species of tree to germinate. That the beautiful, noble, nature-imbued Native Americans set fires to clear the underbrush. Before we were told that a desire to maintain forests as a beautiful place to visit is … “unnatural”.

And to make things worse … Smoky Bear is such a 1950’s white, Western Cultural icon. And we must rid ourselves of all that characterized the 1950’s.

August 9, 2021 12:18 am

I can’t watch PBS Newshour or listen to NPR anymore. On the subject’s I know something about, like viruses and human immune responses and vaccines, I hear so much misinformation from them that I know I can’t trust them to be honest and not tell half-truths on the things I don’t know anything about.
NPR’s problem is credibility. Once a liar, always a liar. They lie so much now, I won’t listen to them.

Last edited 1 month ago by joelobryan
Peter Muller
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 9, 2021 5:43 am

Amen to everything you said about NPR. And that misinformation problem extends to everything related to fossil fuels, especially fracking.

John MacDonald
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 9, 2021 6:37 am

I agree with Joel about NPR. They have been entirely bought in to the Columbia Journalism School’s climate alarmist agenda for about 3 years now. The number and type of stories where they inject climate mentions has gotten outrageous, to the point where credible reporting is ruined.

MarkW
Reply to  John MacDonald
August 9, 2021 8:32 am

When was the last time there was any credible reporting on NPR?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 11:31 am

Good question.

Another good question is why is our tax money funding these leftwing propagandists?

MarkW
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 9, 2021 11:52 am

Because Big Bird would cry if the funding was cut.

Philo
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 6:53 pm

about 40 years

Reply to  MarkW
August 10, 2021 10:49 am

Decades ago.

I used to listen to NPR radio during the day and at night for the music.

The announcers tell so many bald faced lies listening became unpleasant when the announcers spent time talking instead of playing music.

Plus, NPR is full on socialist/communist. It really ticks me off that they get Federal funds and then spend time dissing the American Republic and democracy.

Defund NPR!
Nor are the public TV television stations any better. They’ll tell any lie, happily show the most lurid headlines from the big city ‘fake news’ newspapers and serve as grauniad and BBC outlets.

TonyG
Reply to  ATheoK
August 10, 2021 11:21 am

What I find funny is that they scream over any hint of cutting their federal funding, but when someone points out that they get federal funding they say “it’s only ten percent” (or whatever the number is now)

Well if it’s that little, what’s the big deal cutting it?

Wharfplank
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 9, 2021 7:56 am

ABCCBSNBCMSNBCCNNNPRPBSNYTWaPoLAT…let’s see, is NPR in there? Yes! Yes iis!

Kenji
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 9, 2021 9:10 am

NPR are no more than scribes for woke leftist politics. They are the Pravda of the Biden-Heiress Admin. Nothing they report can be trusted or believed

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
August 9, 2021 10:31 am

And I can assure you that NPR (and the Media in general) is equally biased and inaccurate with respect to how they treat the controversial topic of gun control. One has to ask just what can be trusted that they report on. However, they largely have a captive audience with few alternatives for their information.

Kenji
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 9, 2021 1:25 pm

Just today … Dick Durban claimed it is easier to get a gun on the streets of Chicago than it is to get a job. This on the very day that 10 Million jobs are going unfilled in America. Slogans need no truth.

griff
August 9, 2021 12:30 am

Look, the fires have got to the point where you can’t explain it all away with a universal answer ‘better forest management’ and ‘less grass’.

Take Greece: I just checked, those woodlands are managed and specifically to reduce fire risk. There are 450 fires – are there suddenly coincidentally with a heatwave now 450 first time arsonists?

Editor
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 1:10 am

Griff

The authorities are looking for an arsonist for the firers around Athens. It is the worst fires for 30 years. There is also another element in which we have an equivalent in BRitain. People are living in areas prone to wildfires in the same way we here in Britain insist on living in flood plains or next to the coast in vulnerable areas.

There are very many more people to see and experience the fires or the flooding, many more to be affected by them.

Richard Page
Reply to  tonyb
August 9, 2021 1:55 am

Greek authorities have detained 7 arsonists across 6 different regions and are actively searching for others. We may not know at this point why all of these people started the fires but they certainly have. Turkeys wildfires have been started by arsonists looking for a separate Kurdish state. Increased temperatures may dry fuel out but it does not then ignite them – spontaneous combustion is a myth.

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Page
August 9, 2021 8:37 am

Another point, once fuels reach a certain point of dryness, they will burn. It doesn’t matter how much hotter the air gets after that point.
The fuels that start fires, grasses and twigs, will dry out in a few hours to a few days. Once those start burning, even wood that was to wet to ignite directly, will dry out and start burning.
It’s a complete myth that making things a little bit hotter and a little bit dryer will cause more and bigger wildfires.
BTW, when it comes to wildfires, global averages are meaningless. A fire in Greece couldn’t care less what the temperatures in Saskatchewan have been this summer. Show me that the area around the fire have been significantly warmer and dryer. And not just compared to last year, compare it to the last few thousand years.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 10:38 am

When have you known the griff to do any original, quantitative analysis? He frantically waves his virtual hands by linking to articles that tend to confirm his bias. He can’t spell “anecdotal.”

Reply to  MarkW
August 10, 2021 10:55 am

Dry wood easily burns at well below zero temperatures.

John Tillman
Reply to  tonyb
August 9, 2021 9:01 am

The wet, snowy winter in Greece, the rest of Europe and North America also hurt by building up more fuel:

https://www.eumetsat.int/february-2021-very-cold-first-half-europe-and-north-america

Vuk
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 1:13 am

Griffo
R U listening to Abdala of IPPC ? Talking junket started and is transmitted live on both UK news channels.

Vuk
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 1:24 am

There are no lighting storms, dry cellulose will not ignite at temperatures below 110C. What, in your view is the initial ignition agent?
I come from Mediterranean and often in tourist areas fires are started by people who intend to clear land and obtain planning permission for change of use and building on the land, when fires get out of hand then disasters follow. Monetary value of woodland is low, value of development land is multiplied by large number.

Vuk
Reply to  Vuk
August 9, 2021 1:48 am

In area where I come from, 99% of the summer fires are due to a human factor: campers, burning cigarettes thrown out of moving vehicles, arsonists, land owners, live ammunition practice, lightning and often naked electricity cables touching overgrown trees and bushes below, all preventable.

Kenji
Reply to  Vuk
August 9, 2021 9:20 am

Something I noticed quite a while ago is that the “News” Stations stopped being curious about the cause of fire ignition as EVERY fire became attributable to CAGW. Only when a BIG Energy Corporation like PG&E could be blamed and sued did the media show any interest in the source of wildfire ignition.

This pattern continues today. Rarely is any news station the least bit curious about HOW fires started.

Davidf
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 2:12 am

Look Griff, youve got of couple of forestry and rural fire pros discussing this, and several folk also with a lot of similar experience looking on and nodding in agreement (yes, Im one, 40 years in the game, forestry and rural fire). You are pontificating on something you know nothing about – again- and demonstrating what a fool you are. Rural fire is all about available fuel, ignition sources and wind, very little to do with temperature. Sure, changes in climate may affect seasonal droughts – except there no evidence that is happening. Long term trends for fire extent all over the world had trended down drastically – until the environment lobby managed to get huge ares locked up to any management at all, resulting, a couple of decades later, in the slight increase in trend we’ve observed over the last handful of years. The brutal fact is that yes, that can be attributed to mans actions – the misplaced actions of the Environmental lobby. You cant even call it unforseen consequences, because land managers for decades have been warning of this. Its down to your Green buddies – and its about time they owned it.

Archer
Reply to  Davidf
August 9, 2021 2:52 am

Just when his reputation was being rehabilitated by Ingraham, he comes out with this. It’s like they’re competing to see who can look the most foolish.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Archer
August 9, 2021 10:41 am

Is it possible that ingraham is an alter-ego intended to make griff look good by comparison?

Loydo
Reply to  Davidf
August 9, 2021 4:43 am

“…very little to do with temperature.”

Untrue. Temperature is a significant factor and higher temp means lower RH.

Ambient temperatureThe higher the temperature the more likely it is that a fire will start or continue to burn. This is because the fuel is closer to its ignition point at high temperatures and pre-heated fuel loads burn faster.

Relative humidityDry air promotes a greater intensity fire than moist air. Plants become more flammable at a low humidity because they release their moisture more easily.

https://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/community-safety/bushfire

Richard Page
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 5:52 am

Loydo – I don’t disagree with you that if you dry an area out you’ll likely have bigger fires than it it was soaking wet but I think you’ve taken it to a silly extreme now.
The deputy governor of a region in Greece has stated that the multiple fire fronts through his region were the result of planned and coordinated arson attacks – they have some suspects in custody already, are looking for others but have alerted people to look out for suspicious activity. Coordinated Loydo – possibly all across Greece.

Jim Steele
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 5:56 am

Loydo you are showing your stupidity again saying “higher temp means lower RH.” RH a ratio. If temps are higher and so is vapor pressure no change in RH or VPD. Lower humidity is also due to less water vapor, which happens in California during negative PDO’s (since 1999) and La Nina’s (more common the past 2 decades). In addition less specific humidity can be caused by landscape changes as vegetation recycles moisture via transpiration. Invasive grasses are known to lower specific humidity.

Finally most northern California fires started where max temperatures are lower now than in the 30s. No correlation with global warming! The current Dixie Fire, California’s biggest in 2021, and in the region where I had worked has been cooling for over 2 decades.

Quincy summer max trend.png
MarkW
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 9, 2021 8:43 am

The myth of massive temperature increases due to higher CO2 levels is based on the belief that as temperatures increase, RH stays constant. Hence more water in the air and more GHE from the water vapor.

Now Loydo is proclaiming that higher temperatures mean lower RH.

They can’t both be true. Has Loydo just refuted the global warming myth by accident?

John Tillman
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 3:14 pm

True. The only models can get scary levels of temperature increase is by more evaporation, hence higher RH. Which means fewer wild fires.

It all does not compute.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 9, 2021 11:39 am

“Finally most northern California fires started where max temperatures are lower now than in the 30s. No correlation with global warming! The current Dixie Fire, California’s biggest in 2021, and in the region where I had worked has been cooling for over 2 decades.”

That’s something Loydo seems to ignore.

He can’t get that Hockey Stick lie out of his head.

Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 7:07 am

higher temp means lower RH.

Wrong from point of view hot air is always dry.. Hot air may also be wet, and cold air may be dry. Therefore you may have and had winter wild fires.

MarkW
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 8:41 am

Do you really believe that being a few tenths of a degree closer to ignition point is going to make that big of a difference.
Once fuel gets dry enough to burn. For most grasses that happens in the first few weeks of summer. Getting a little bit drier doesn’t matter.
For the rest of the fuels, they dry out quite easily shortly after the grasses dry out. Beyond that, once the grass fires get started, it’s quite easy to start igniting the bigger stuff, even if it was too wet to burn at first.

Have you ever tossed a green branch onto a fire? It smokes at first, but very shortly, it starts burning.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Loydo
August 9, 2021 10:44 am

… higher temp means lower RH.

Unless one lives in the gulf states. When was the last time Death Valley had a major fire? Now, that is really low RH!

Reply to  Loydo
August 10, 2021 11:06 am

Untrue. Temperature is a significant factor and higher temp means lower RH”

lolly starts off with a load of rubbish!

lolly spouts off like an urban basement dweller pretending knowledge and experience it totally lacks.

Tell us lolly, exactly what is the ignition point of wood?
Then tell us how a degree or two above average is a significant milestone towards that ignition point?

After that lolly, you can explain exactly what use are average temperatures? Especially when psychos then begin to weird out over temperatures that are not exactly average. Psychos that completely forget that “Average temperatures” include those temperatures higher and lower than the average.

That is, whining about temperature 2° above average is absurdly silly when those averages encompass higher temperatures and lower temperatures.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 2:35 am

Indeed. The Greek police must be really stupid to believe that.

Richard Page
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
August 9, 2021 3:04 am

Heh. What would be the response to a police officer that apprehended someone with a can of petrol in each hand, matches in their pocket, right next to a fire but let them go because it was a hot day and, y’know – ‘climate change’.

MarkW
Reply to  Richard Page
August 9, 2021 11:54 am

If the police officer did bring in the perp, the DA would just have him released without bond.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Richard Page
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 3:11 am

Griffy – you are a genius once again. Obviously we have only 2-3 months to COP26, temperatures are not as high as they once were, so what is a desperate climate change activist supposed to do? We should definitely be on the lookout for more incidents of arson and other damaging incidents designed to look like ‘Climate change’.

Tom Halla
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 4:49 am

Griff, in a Mediterranean climate, like California or Greece, it gets dry enough every year in summer to burn. It even did so during the 1960’s and 1970’s when the “the ice age is coming” meme was being pushed.

Kenji
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2021 9:28 am

But MOST Californians haven’t lived here for 66 years as I have. They have NO historical perspective, and thus are very easily manipulated into believing that Hot, dry, summers, and periods of drought are somehow unusually worse now … because of CAGW.

As a 4th generation Californian, I assure them nothing unusual is happening (except for PG&E’s systemic lack of infrastructure maintenance). This is not a “new” normal, it is a normal, normal. Sometimes empirical knowledge and data is superior to charts, graphs, and computer models. Like … most times.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Kenji
August 9, 2021 9:32 am

I was born in California, and lived there until 2005. In Texas, it still feels odd for it to rain in July.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Halla
August 9, 2021 11:49 am

It *is* odd for it to rain in Texas in July, unless you live close to the Gulf of Mexico.

In Oklahoma, just north of Texas, we consider any rain we get in July or August to be very fortunate.

Our climate in past years was always tending toward the dry side, and the rains would stop in late June and wouldn’t start back again until September, with an occasional shower in between.

Now, we have a much wetter climate, which has been in place for about the last ten years. It rained this morning on me, which is very unusual in August around here. It’s been raining off and on since the spring.

I hope this climate stays around. I like seeing all the vegetation green and thriving instead of brown and dead this time of year. The only fly in the ointment is the rain makes the grass grow and I have to get out and mow it more often when it rains like this. But I’ll take it.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 9, 2021 11:58 am

I live just west of Austin, and summer rain is not unusual. I still have the expectation that all rainstorms should be straight out of the Gulf of Alaska.

fretslider
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 6:05 am

450 first time arsonists?

Multiply that number by ten at least and you have the number of migrants this year…

Richard Page
Reply to  fretslider
August 9, 2021 6:21 am

Probably not migrants. Greece and Turkey have a historical record of groups setting fires. In Turkey it’s been mainly the PKK but in Greece it’s been a variety of far left activist groups. This year looks to be no exception – people dealing with the incidents seem to feel it is a planned and coordinated pattern of attacks.

fretslider
Reply to  Richard Page
August 9, 2021 6:48 am

Actually in the case of Turkey, Erdogan has blamed children among others.

“Erdogan said one of the wildfires that have been raging for days in the country’s southwest was started by children.
He said an investigation into the causes of other fires in the region was underway, and an arrest had been made.

“Although it is known that the fire in Marmaris was caused by children, an investigation into the other fires continues,” Mr Erdogan said.
“In fact, one person has been taken into custody in connection with the fire in Milas.”

Turkey’s Erdogan blames wildfire on children (thenationalnews.com)

MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
August 9, 2021 8:46 am

1) Who said they were first time arsonists?
2) Who said each arsonist only started one fire?

Meab
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 9:41 am

A man was just arrested outside my community for setting multiple grass fires alongside the highway. He wasn’t even that surreptitious – he drove along the highway, stopping every few miles to light another fire. The growing fires attracted attention and were quickly reported. He was caught less than 3 miles before he would have entered forest lands. No word yet on the man’s motivation.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 10:52 am

California has had problems in the past with unemployed men starting wildfires in the hopes of being hired to fight the fires they started. There are many reasons that motivate arsonists.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 9, 2021 11:53 am

I think the radical Islamists also promote starting fires in enemy territory.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 6:45 am

Church fires have increased in Canada and the U.S. also. Obviously, it’s caused by your demons and you can’t explain it away with better forest management.

Kenji
Reply to  ResourceGuy
August 9, 2021 9:33 am

Those hundreds of church burnings are completely uninteresting to the CAGW and First Nations shilling media. Remember when some FAKE hate crime arsonist burned a church after spray painting ‘Trump’ on the side of the church. Wall to wall media coverage. Hundreds of Catholic Churches burned because ground penetrating radar found something in an underground graveyard … ? Nothing. The media is not interested. And neither is the RCMP.

Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 7:03 am

No fuel, no fire.

MarkW
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 9, 2021 8:47 am

In griff’s case: No fire, no fool

Dave Fair
Reply to  MarkW
August 9, 2021 11:18 am

The Griff persona is a Trolling Device (TD). TDs post whatever is the most recent CliSciFi meme. TDs do no independent research.

Kenji
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 9, 2021 9:36 am

Yes! Which is why the National Park Service stood by and watched a giant chunk of Yellowstone Park burn. I’ve seen the result … and they certainly did away with the forest. Did away with the fuel. And now it is apparent they will need to burn the scrub that has replaced the forest.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 9, 2021 10:53 am

No ignition, no fire. It takes two to tango.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 8:33 am

It really is amazing how griffie is convinced that history began last year.

Kenji
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 9:14 am

450 first time arsonists? Out of an invasion of 100M disaffected Middle Eastern and African immigrants to the EU? Easy.

Eisenhower
Reply to  griff
August 9, 2021 1:28 pm

Hres is a rundown on what Gov Newsom has and hasn’t done. (link below)

Climate change was sparking fires more frequent, ferocious, and far-reaching than ever before, Newsom said, and confronting them would have to become a year-round effort. 
The state’s response, Newsom added, “fundamentally has to change.”
But two-and-a-half years later, as California approaches what could be the worst wildfire season on record, it does so with little evidence of the year-round attention Newsom promised.
An investigation from CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom found the governor has misrepresented his accomplishments and even disinvested in wildfire prevention. The investigation found Newsom overstated, by an astounding 690%, the number of acres treated with fuel breaks and prescribed burns in the very forestry projects he said needed to be prioritized to protect the state’s most vulnerable communities. Newsom has claimed that 35 “priority projects” carried out as a result of his executive order resulted in fire prevention work on 90,000 acres. But the state’s own data show the actual number is 11,399.
Overall, California’s response has faltered under Newsom. After an initial jump during his first year in office, data obtained by CapRadio and NPR’s California Newsroom show Cal Fire’s fuel reduction output dropped by half in 2020, to levels below Gov. Jerry Brown’s final year in office. At the same time, Newsom slashed roughly $150 million from Cal Fire’s wildfire prevention budget.

https://www.capradio.org/articles/2021/06/23/newsom-misled-the-public-about-wildfire-prevention-efforts-ahead-of-worst-fire-season-on-record/

AndyHce
August 9, 2021 12:54 am

Fixing the grass problem seems almost impossible.
Cleaning up the multi-decade backlog of ground fuel seems almost as hard — except that the many large fires will eventually likely take care of most of it without human help

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  AndyHce
August 9, 2021 11:03 am

Fixing the grass problem seems almost impossible.

Fire barriers along the roads would be a good start. There might be a biological solution to the cheat grass, but it would take money and time to try to find a solution. In the meantime, with the alarmists blaming a 1°F average global temperature increase in the last 86 years as being responsible for supposed increased frequency and severity of wild fires, there is little incentive to invest in the research.

BCBill
August 9, 2021 1:27 am

In BC there are additional issues. Low elevation forests have been mismanaged for decades resulting in dense stands of immature/stunted Douglas-fir that are easily ignited by grass fires and human activity. Misuse of lodgepole pine has resulted in vast swaths of flammable forest which don’t vary in makeup or structure with natural geographic patterns of fire risk. Urban/forest interface has greatly increased. Fire suppression in short fire return interval biomes has resulted in large tracts of fuel that favour big fires. Forests have been allowed to invade into formerly fire maintained grasslands. The former fire suppression network which was likely too effective has been replaced by one that is largely ineffective. The manned fire watchtower network which was highly effective at directing ground crews to spot fires has been replaced by a lightning strike mapping system that is largely irrelevant. To summarize, a rational fire management scheme remains beyond the intellectual capacity of politicians and their bureaucratic toadies. Thank God that global warming gave them an avenue to duck responsibility. The main purpose of the global warming charade remains acting as an effective excuse to for the inability to manage complex issues such as risk of flood, fire, human displacement by despotic government and failed states, species extinction on islands, garbage management in non-Western nations and possibly a small number of other real problems that exist in the world as opposed to gigantic fantasy problems like AGW, plastic, Covid.

spangled drongo
August 9, 2021 3:03 am

In my neck of the woods in eastern Australia, farmers were once required to clear their land and to be as productive as possible. But these days the reverse is required following the development of green logic in most local govts and forest is not allowed to be cleared. As the fuel load built we were allowed to organize “cool” burns in the appropriate season which kept wildfire within reasonable limits but the public servants responsible these days will not give any approval unless there is some iron-clad guarantee that the fire won’t get out of hand. That, of course, is impossible so the “cool” burns are not permitted any more, and so the only fires we get are conflagrations.

I think I’ll have to advertise for arsonists.

spangled drongo
Reply to  spangled drongo
August 9, 2021 3:27 am

This is what we’re up against:

Regenerate Australia – WWF-Australia – WWF-Australia

They don’t realize that it is not the trees [or lack thereof] that are the problem. It’s the feral predators and more trees won’t help. They’ll only roast ’em quicker.

If they started Koala colonies on islands which are predator-free, they would be in plague proportions in no time.

fretslider
August 9, 2021 3:04 am

” Misinformation “

It’s all about the narrative.

If science accords with the politics it’s useful, if it doesn’t it goes down the memory hole and a new truth is broadcast instead.

For example, a normal damp squib summer according to the Met Office has actually been a hotter drier summer, your eyes deceive you.

Waza
August 9, 2021 3:10 am

Good article and good comments.
However, fire ignition and fire intensity are just two components that need to be addressed.
Risks associated with loss of life and damage to infrastructure along with fire response are also extremely important.
If you address fuel reduction levels from a risk perspective, the level of total fuel reduction can be minimised while providing high levels of infrastructure protection.
Possibilities include:-
A. Full annual clearing around vulnerable structures such as hospitals, schools, aged care facilities.
B. Full annual clearing around refuge centres( could be type A locations above)
C. Appropriate clearing around residential, commercial and industrial areas based on a proper risk basis.
D. Total clearing of strategic roads to allow residents to safely escape and emergency vehicles to access.
By seriously clearing the above, the management of remote forests can be carried out in a environmentally friendly way

fretslider
Reply to  Waza
August 9, 2021 3:21 am

Doing any of what you suggest is not rewilding and rewilding – causing floods, fires etc by an absence of management – is all the rage.

Waza
Reply to  fretslider
August 9, 2021 3:36 am

Environmentalists have essentially been given the cake and eat it as well.
They have dishonestly promised that they can manage the forest in an environmental friendly way but allow local town clearing.
But in reality they haven’t done and environmental clearing and have hindered town clearing.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Waza
August 9, 2021 11:31 am

C. Appropriate clearing around residential, commercial and industrial areas based on a proper risk basis.

My ex-wife moved to Paradise (CA) after we got divorced. She built a house on 5 acres, in the Banana Belt south of the town center, which we had owned. She purposely built close to the trees on the adjacent property, and never trimmed the overhang in order to take advantage of the shade. It routinely got insufferably hot there in the Summer. More than hot enough to dry out all the duff and tinder, even 40 years ago. The house is no longer standing!

Most of the commercial buildings in the town center were built with flat roofs, sealed with flammable asphalt, and as is the custom in California, surrounded with a facade to hide the air conditioners. They made perfect catchment basins for the blowing embers. Almost all of those are gone.

In general, the trees appear to have survived better than the human dwellings.

Jim Steele
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 9, 2021 12:02 pm

Indeed, Paradise’s trees survived better than the homes

webRNS-Fires-Thanksgiving2-112018.jpg
PeterW
August 9, 2021 3:17 am

Forty years of farming and rural firefighting in SE Australia, here.

Re winter/spring active annual grasses. A very common practice to reduce seedset in these grasses is the use of chemical herbicides at from flowering through to mid seedset. Obviously this is impractical in forested areas and contrary to the management aims of conservation areas, however fire could be used for the same purpose. Fire as early as the target species will consistently carry a flame front has the potential to destroy seed – something that we observe a lot in post-harvest stubble-burning.

Early-season fires seem to have been the primary tactic of primitive humans faced with the prospect of long, dry summers in fire-prone environments , yet lacking our ability to either fight fire or create safe refuges. They weren’t stupid.

Our experience and decades of research aligns with Jim’s. Frequent cool burning reduces scrub and ladder-fuels, thus reducing crown-fires. Early-season burning removes the bulk of both winter-spring grasses and opens the ground which promotes establishment of summer-active grasses which are either still relatively green during the peak of the fire season, or very sparse following the failed spring rains that are typical of drought in Mediterranean climates.

PeterW
Reply to  PeterW
August 9, 2021 3:25 am

I should add.
I’m in favour of taking the obvious measures to reduce human ignition, but we should not pretend that we can ever stop more than a portion. We have to accept that fires will occur and manage accordingly.

The same goes for arguments about “climate change”. The more CC advocates claim to “know” that things are going to get worse, the more responsibility they have for ensuring that we are managing for adverse seasons.

There is no reasonable scenario in which we can make droughts and high winds disappear . You fight your war with the weapons you have, not the weapons you wish you had.

Tom
August 9, 2021 3:47 am

NPR typically has several articles per week where the headline announces that this or that weather is due to climate change or that the catastrophe is just around the corner. It is really pathetic. Here is the latest: Major U.N. Report Warns Climate Change Is Accelerating : NPR

fretslider
Reply to  Tom
August 9, 2021 5:48 am

Not dissimilar to the BBC, then

George Daddis
Reply to  fretslider
August 9, 2021 8:11 am

Or NYT.

John Garrett
August 9, 2021 3:53 am

NPR and the Associated Press are impervious to facts.

The English, art history, and dance majors who self-select and control those propaganda broadcasting operations are innumerate, scientific and economic illiterates.

With no prospects for useful employment, they devolve to what they really are: activists and professional gossips.

A recent change to NPR’s formal ethics policy makes explicit what has always been the de facto case:

New NPR Ethics Policy: It’s OK for Journalists to Demonstrate (Sometimes)

by Kelly McBride

NPR opens the door for journalists to publicly advocate for fairness, justice and other human values.

https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2021/07/29/1021802098/new-npr-ethics-policy-its-ok-for-journalists-to-demonstrate-sometimes

Last edited 1 month ago by John Garrett
Andrew Wilkins
August 9, 2021 4:19 am

Mark, please, pack it in.

Bruce Cobb
August 9, 2021 4:50 am

The Climate Liars just love wildfires, because it allows them to do what they do best – confuse and conflate issues. And the shameful MSM dutifully reports all the garbage that the IPCC, aka Climate Liar’s Central feeds them. It is sickening. Wildfires have that emotional content that the Climate Liars always want to tap into, making it easier to spread Fear, which is an essential component of propaganda. Where you have emotionalism, rationality flies out the window.

David Sulik
August 9, 2021 6:30 am

Please stop calling them media journalists. They are media PROPAGANDISTS.

fretslider
Reply to  David Sulik
August 9, 2021 6:40 am

They are “Hacktivists”.

PaulH
August 9, 2021 6:39 am

This is just a thought. The phrase “human-started wildfires” seems rather vague to me. I assume it includes arson, which is intentional and rare. Unintentional carelessness would be another factor that would include mismanaged campfires, dropped cigarette butts, etc. Then there are sparks from human-created things like railroads, cars & trucks, and branches contacting power lines. But, a fire is a fire. 

August 9, 2021 6:59 am
Don Bennett
August 9, 2021 7:07 am

I own property near Boulder Lake, located east of Pinedale, WY, and in 2019, I recieved a letter from the County Weed & Pest board about their plans to aerial treat cheatgrass in the area. They offered to treat the cheatgrass on my property (there isn’t that much but there is some) also and, of course, I said “YES!”. I learned about cheatgrass from my father who grew up on a dry farm southeast of Gillette, WY. He hated “the damn stuff”.

yirgach
August 9, 2021 7:39 am

Like the rest of the MSM, NPR has got it’s marching orders in advance of the IPCC report.
Ratchet up the climate porn so we can ban fossil fuel use.

August 9, 2021 7:54 am

Don’t worry, the media ghouls are waiting impatiently for a hurricane to relieve the summer tedium.

John Garrett
August 9, 2021 8:03 am

Mr. Steele,
Thank you for identifying NPR as a chronic creator and disseminator of climate misinformation.

I had been an NPR consumer since its earliest days but the last two decades have seen it utterly betray its original mission as an impartial and unbiased news source.

NPR has become a heavily biased, unreliable propaganda broadcasting operation that routinely violates every tenet of journalistic ethics.

I no longer listen to it. I visit its website daily but no longer consider anything I read there to be reliable.

NPR has become a joke and a farce; I consider it the current day equivalent of the Iraqi Information Minister and the Soviet Union’s Izvestia.

Andrew Kerber
August 9, 2021 8:07 am

Its not the first story about Cali that NPR has produced that is more fantasy than fact. This story about sea level at San Francisco predicts 7 foot of sea level rise by 2100. Ignoring the fact that sea level in San Francisco has been flat for the last 30 years. https://www.npr.org/2021/07/27/1021051573/coastal-residents-question-where-funds-will-come-from-to-fight-rising-sea-levels

Jim Steele
Reply to  Andrew Kerber
August 9, 2021 8:27 am

Indeed they push misinformation that has drugged locals to believ we must abandon the coast.

SF Sea Level Range 1980-2014.jpg
MarkW
August 9, 2021 8:13 am

Misinformation is what NPR deals with. Regardless of the subject.

Ronald Stein
August 9, 2021 8:15 am

Despite breathless climate reporting, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), in 2021 the burned area to date is the fourth lowest of the past 11 years.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the number of wildfires in 2021 were significantly less than the number in the 1900’s.

Clyde Spencer
August 9, 2021 9:41 am

Claims that an insignificant 2°F increase from global warming makes wildfires bigger and more intense appears to be politicized fear mongering.

Definitely! The alarmists conveniently forget that the global average temperature increase of ~2°F is biased strongly by increases in the Winter and at night (which are dominant), and by the 3-fold faster warming in the Arctic, which probably amounts to about 20% of the global land area, including the Tundra north of the tree line. Therefore, the temperature increase during the mid-latitude fire season is truly “insignificant.”

Mike McMillan
August 9, 2021 10:07 am

There’s a ton of interesting stuff in the margins of the ODF Fire History chart in the article.

https://digital.osl.state.or.us/islandora/object/osl:938188
to download the pdf.

Tom Abbott
August 9, 2021 11:19 am

From the article: “So best to prevent increased ignitions by burying powerlines and by removing 1‑hour fuels from roadsides.”

I saw an article the other day claiming California is going to start burying the powerlines.

That sounds like a good idea.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 9, 2021 11:33 am

It is far less costly to simply manage the powerline rights-of-way.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 10, 2021 8:34 am

The article was talking about California spending billions of dollars to bury the lines.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 10, 2021 12:26 pm

Yes, I don’t think that PG&E has been diligent about keeping trees trimmed back from the power-line right of way. But, then they are micromanaged by political bodies, so I’m not sure where the blame lies. I sold my PG&E stock many years ago.

John Baglien
August 9, 2021 12:38 pm

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise used to post on their website historical fire summaries from 1926 to present, albeit with a qualifier that present data should not be compared to data prior to 1981 because a national record-keeping system was not established until then. They have since deleted those records entirely. The level of incompetence in reporting or summarizing acres that must be assumed to cavalierly dismiss the 6 to 7-fold greater number of fires and acres burned during the dust-bowl era of the 1930’s as not comparable to current fire history is breathtaking.
 
That major firestorms can occur without a climate change driver is evidenced by the number and size of truly massive fires which have occurred historically, e.g. the 1825 Miramichi fire in New Brunswick (3 million+ acres), 1847 the Great Fire of Oregon (1.5 million acres), the 1853 Yaquina Fire Oregon (450,000 acres), the 1858 Coos Fire Oregon (300,000 acres), the 1871 Peshtigo Wisconsin Fire (1.2 million acres and 1200-2500 people killed), the 1871 Great Michigan Fire (2.5 million acres), the 1876 Bighorn Fire Wyoming (500,000 acres), the 1881 Thumb Fire in Michigan (1 million acres, 282 people killed), the 1889 Santiago Fire California (300,000 acres), the 1894 Hinckley Fire Minnesota (160,000 acres, 482 people killed), the 1903 Adirondack Fire New York (464,000 acres), and the 1910 Fire of north Idaho, Montana and northeast Washington (3 million acres, 82 people killed). Note that the 1871 fires of Wisconsin and Michigan blew up from the same weather event that produced the Great Chicago Fire of Mrs. O’Leary fame. Must have been an unusually massive weather event. How such history can be ignored while declaring recent fires as “unprecedented” is beyond me.

MarkW2
August 9, 2021 4:02 pm

In other words it has nothing to do with “man-made” climate change.

John Hultquist
August 9, 2021 8:47 pm

Okay, raise you hand if you have ever attended a day of education with fire-wise experts. Search up “firewise” if you have not.
I’ve been to two and have had 2 of the County’s team visit my property. Also see this presentation on the Era of MegaFires (EOM).
Paul Hessburg Era of Megafires wildfire forest health — North 40 (north40productions.com)

Kazinski
August 9, 2021 11:29 pm

It’s all pretty easy to say it’s business as usual, but I’m sitting up in Plumas county that’s had about 900,000 acres burned out of 1,628,000 since the Northern Complex fire last year that was 318,000 acres and killed 16 people, and now the Beckwourth complex at 100,000, and now the Dixie fire at 500,000 acres. That is almost 60% of the county (90% of the acreage was in Plumas county, the rest Butte, and Lassen, and all the fatalities in Butte.

I’m living on 15 acres of bone dry timber off pavement a few miles and off the grid too, and I want answers.

All these fires were started by lightning, not powerlines, but it’s someone’s fault, but I’m not quite sure who, so I’m just going to settle on Gavin Newsome, and I’m going to vote to recall him whenever the recall is.

Someone has to make a futile gesture, and I guess it’s going to have to be me.

Jim Steele
Reply to  Kazinski
August 10, 2021 6:22 am

The Beckwouth Fire was indeed caused by Lightning, but the Dixie and Fly fires are the fault of PGE. The Bassets fire over a decade ago that threatened the SFSU research station was arson

Kazinski
Reply to  Jim Steele
August 11, 2021 8:41 pm

I stand corrected, maybe, there was a lot of lightning around about the time the Dixie fire started, but I see now that PGE is admitting it might have been them

But I’m still blaming Newsome.

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