The Columbia Missourian @CoMissourian Blunder on Climate Change and the Yosemite Fire

Originally published on Climate Realism

Newspapers are supposed to factually report on events. Apparently, the Columbia Missourian newspaper didn’t get the memo.

On Wednesday July 13, the newspaper ran this editorial cartoon by John Darkow in its opinion section:

Image from Columbia Missourian, by John Darkow. Used under Fair Use Law

The cartoon, featuring the Warner Brothers “Looney Tunes” character “Yosemite Sam” (in the post-woke world, sans his two six-guns one should note) in one of his trademark tantrums, makes a big fat mistaken assumption about the Yosemite fire – “climate change” didn’t start it.

From the San Jose Mercury News, July 11, 2022, two days before this cartoon appeared:

Yosemite blaze was a ‘human-start fire,’ park superintendent says

OAKHURST – The Washburn Fire burning in Yosemite National Park’s southern edges was caused by a person, officials said.

There was no lightning on that day, so it’s a human-start fire and it’s under investigation,” Yosemite Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said at a community meeting Monday evening. “That’s all I can really say about that right now. We’re looking at that real, real hard.

As Yosemite Sam might say, “GREAT HORNY TOADS!” If only the Columbia Missourian could do fact-based reporting. If only they could use the Internet to look at what newspapers on the scene reported instead of opinionating.

Even when it comes to their opinion page, where letters to the editor often have opinions that are factually wrong, the newspaper has a duty to undertake at least a modicum of fact checking before they present something as wrong as this.

Unfortunately, many in the media have been conditioned to think that climate change is the root cause of anything that happens that is bad, and so they fail to check facts.

A cartoon in the Augusta Chronicle in 2015 by cartoonist Rick McKee sums up the lack of factual reporting due to this conditioning very well:

In today’s media world, opinion about climate change apparently trumps facts about climate change. Sadly even beloved “Looney Tunes” characters are being enlisted to push the false claim that climate change is causing extreme weather events.

Addendum: (h/t to Cliff Mass)

To see an example of factual reporting when it comes to disasters, one need not look any furher than this article:

“Rather than blame global warming, both attributed the flooding to a culmination of weather factors, which when combined created a perfect storm or, as some meteorologists have labeled it, a “thousand-year weather event.”

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Len Werner
July 14, 2022 10:37 am

Imagine being so woke that they think they have to take Yosemite Sam’s guns away–it’s a cartoon character for Dog’s sake. I expect all guns to be edited out of old WWII and John Wayne movies next.

As Jordan Peterson indicated in one of his recent lectures, do these Politically Correct people not understand that Putin and Xi Jinping are watching all this?

Steve Case
Reply to  Len Werner
July 14, 2022 10:48 am

…do these Politically Correct people not understand that Putin and Xi Jinping are watching all this?

They don’t care.

HBO on Looney Toon Guns

Let’s pretend that firearms don’t exist.

Len Werner
Reply to  Steve Case
July 14, 2022 2:29 pm

“We’re going through this wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along,”

Has anyone seen entities more insistent and persistent at bullying in the modern world than government, academia, MSM and SM controllers? Nobody is making itself the enemy of the people more consistently than government. Joe Biden himself has been telling Americans that he’s ‘losing his patience’ with citizens that don’t agree with and obey him, in lockstep with most if not all Western leaders.

And all while wearing pink shirts.

Len Werner
Reply to  Len Werner
July 14, 2022 3:48 pm

Speaking of a wave of government bullying…

Reply to  Len Werner
July 14, 2022 7:03 pm

And diapers.

Reply to  Len Werner
July 14, 2022 11:09 pm

Has anyone seen entities more insistent and persistent at bullying in the modern world than government, academia, MSM and SM controllers?

I have – the Greens

Bullying the rest of us to stop eating meat, fish, having children, flying ….

lee riffee
Reply to  Steve Case
July 15, 2022 7:01 am

It says in the article that Elmer Fudd chases Bugs Bunny with a scythe. I guess you couldn’t hurt anyone with a scythe…..and also said there would still be TNT and explosives. Guess explosives never hurt anyone either – I guess the the HBO folks never heard of Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma Federal Building!

Reply to  Len Werner
July 14, 2022 12:03 pm

Actually, I do believe that IS the audience they’re to.

lee riffee
Reply to  Len Werner
July 15, 2022 7:10 am

Well, many years ago Speilberg edited the guns out of the movie ET for its 30th anniversary release. This despite the fact that the only guns in the movie were towards the end where Elliot and ET take off on the bike while being pursued by government agents. The rifles in the agents hands were replaced with walkie-talkies. And in the original, they never fired or even pointed the guns at anyone!
Of course, Elmer Fudd was always pointing his rifle at Bugs, but he never shot him. Though I think in one cartoon he shot Daffy Duck, and his bill spun around several times and then Daffy spit the shot pellets out of his bill.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Len Werner
July 15, 2022 9:02 am

Actually, Spielberg did do a re-release of ET. He edited out the agents guns and replaced them with radios.

Toby Nixon
July 14, 2022 10:42 am

I don’t defend climate change hysterics. But I don’t see anything in that Yosemite Sam cartoon that says the artist (or the newspaper) believes the fire was STARTED by climate change. The usual argument is that climate change makes fires worse once they do start, because of hot dry conditions that promote fire growth. Kind of a straw man argument there.

Of course, the whole “DO SUPPIN’ ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE” meme and the assumption that changes to human emissions of CO2 would make any difference at all is nonsensical. Changes to human behavior could help with this problem, but it would be things like (1) stop the immediate suppression of all fires, which allows to buildup of dead material and undergrowth which makes fires much worse, (2) stop building in the edges of forests (urban-wildland interface), and (3) allow people who do live on the edges of forests to clear space around their buildings to protect them, that would make the difference. Fires really are more dangerous due to human behavior, but the bad behavior that needs to be stopped is not human CO2 emissions (which promotes healthy growth of trees).

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Toby Nixon
July 14, 2022 10:54 am

But I don’t see anything in that Yosemite Sam cartoon that says the artist (or the newspaper) believes the fire was STARTED by climate change.

I think that it very clearly implies that ‘climate change’ is responsible for the fire, even if it wasn’t spontaneous combustion that started it. That is, ‘climate change’ created the conditions for easy ignition and propagation.

Citizen Smith
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 11:13 am

doesn’t summer do that every year? we used to just call it fire season.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Citizen Smith
July 14, 2022 8:40 pm

Imported grasses can grow fast and dry sooner than native grasses. One result is a longer fire season. See: Invasive Grasses, Vegetation, and Weeds | U.S. Geological Survey (

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 11:19 am

It’s a poor cartoon. I always saw Sam as a overreacting idiot. So, it appears to me that Sam is wrong, and overreacting again. Bugs Bunny probably got a job with the forest service and started the fire as a control measure.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  DonM
July 14, 2022 4:51 pm

Maybe that speaks to the intelligence of the editors at the Columbia Missourian who chose to publish it.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 7:06 pm


Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 9:59 pm

A certain South Western State University uses Sam as a mascot. If I recall properly, it took special permission from Warner for the University to avoid an intellectual property suit. One might hope that Warner Brothers isn’t so forgiving of The Missourian in their obvious copyright violation (even though Warner has done almost anything to PC distance themselves all of the Looney Toons characters, and censor the old cartoons).

John Hultquist
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 8:35 pm

spontaneous combustion”

I wonder if there has been a survey question about how fires start; specifically do some people think that “climate change” can ignite wildland fires.

In the western states, about 84% of ignitions are related to human activities. Example: a tire comes off a vehicle and sparks shower dry grass along the road edge.

Reply to  Toby Nixon
July 14, 2022 11:06 am

(1) when allowing fires to burn, and the result is harm to other property/life, the instigator(s) of the policy should be (a) listed publicly & (b) liable.

(2) compensate property owners (thrice the value) for restricting the usefulness of their property.

(3) Do not restrict anyone (Allow everyone) from clearing their property in the manner that they want to.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  DonM
July 14, 2022 4:59 pm

Do not restrict anyone (Allow everyone) from clearing their property in the manner that they want to.

There has to be some oversight. There is a general principle that your rights only extend as far as infringing on someone else’s rights. If one unwisely strips everything to bare ground, and runoff results in erosion of the ground, silting up the nearest stream or being deposited on a neighbor’s land, then others experience harm from your actions. That generally results in legal standing for recovering their losses. The legal proceedings can be avoided if there are legal guidelines as to how far one can go in making their property fire resistant.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 8:59 pm

@Clyde – Yes but that would show harm. However if the person after clearing the land with fire then created a trench and made sure that the water did not damage the land of their neighbor… Then it would be fine right. You don’t need ‘oversight’ you need processes for when actions from one person harm another. This can be greatly simplified rather than create by ‘oversight’. Plus there must be REAL damage rather than imagined or ‘trumped up’ damage.

No – your buring grass on your land triggered me so now I am sueing you for a billion dollars. No, you created CO2 so I am suing you cause ‘climate change’. However the – I placed radioactive waste on my property which has a KNOWN direct correlation to cancer. Yes damages can be awarded. Or I burnt everything to the ground and did not compensate for run off, etc – if DAMAGE occurs.

‘legal guidelines’ are a fiction because once you prove harm – then it is harm.

Jim G.
Reply to  Toby Nixon
July 15, 2022 3:43 am

The problem I see here is that the artist is ignorant of the fact that fire is necessary for the propagation of the Seqouia.

Fire agencies in Calif. have finally come around to the realization that the policy of quickly extinguishing fires has had a deleterious effect on our wildlands. They are now allowing the fires to burn while still protecting structures.

Rud Istvan
July 14, 2022 10:45 am

The main problem with the Washburn fire is that a significant part of the fuel load is bark beetle killed standing pines that had not been cleared out as proper forestry would have done. Dunno if California or the NPS (or both) are responsible. What significantly helped the Yosemite sequoias grove was previous adjacent NPS prescribed burns to clear fuel loads except in the Washburn fire sector.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 14, 2022 12:17 pm

What I see from the fire history is the north is bounded by the 2017 North Fork fire. This limited the fire in a big way. The fire has progressed to the east and has now reached the eastern side of the North Fork burn area, so there is potential for a real blow up there. My understanding is the prescribed burns were inside and on the border of the Mariposa Grove, which is to the south of the Washburn fire.

Reply to  Randle Dewees
July 15, 2022 11:53 am

There are no guarantees but I would be shocked if this fire did much, let alone blew up. Winds are forecast to be puny for the next week and it’s burning in a basin that naturally contains it. The Iron Creek drainage to the immediate east presents a substantial obstacle to it going further east and there are hardly any other fires in CA so they have as many resources as they need.
Having looked at timberland through the area extensively there isn’t much out there to harm if it did continue east. Probably be a net benefit.

Clyde Spencer
July 14, 2022 10:47 am

Even when it comes to their opinion page, where letters to the editor often have opinions that are factually wrong, the newspaper has a duty to undertake at least a modicum of fact checking before they present something as wrong as this.

Unfortunately, they almost never do any fact checking, even 30 years ago. And, they are rarely called to task for their negligence or partisan behavior. Back in the 1980s, I sufficiently embarrassed the San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) editorial editor by pointing out the obvious and easily verified misinformation about gun control, that I could almost always depend on getting published. However, the paper had a policy of only publishing one letter per month from any particular reader. Therefore, I might have a single letter published alongside two or three others that were still lying, and weren’t checked.

“The Fourth Estate has become a Fifth Column.”

July 14, 2022 11:37 am

It’s close enough for dorm room debate accuracy.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 14, 2022 11:11 pm

It’s close enough for dorm room debate kindergarten accuracy.

MM from Canada
July 14, 2022 11:44 am

“Rather than blame global warming, both attributed the flooding to a culmination of weather factors, which when combined created a perfect storm or, as some meteorologists have labeled it, a “thousand-year weather event.”

And then the climate alarmists go on to add, “but those weather events wouldn’t have happened without climate change!!”

July 14, 2022 11:45 am

I would love to see a Babylon Bee piece / or cartoon entitled:

“Hoarder House Fire consumes CA Neighborhood: State authorities finger Climate Change as cause of blaze.”


Reply to  Anon
July 14, 2022 11:12 pm

State authorities finger Climate Change

Greens have been fingering climate change for 50 years and still haven’t found the hot spot

July 14, 2022 12:06 pm

Here’s is the thing: global warming is human’s fault. Fires started by humans is human’s fault, hence


HF = GW = FH


This fire is due to global warming.

Reply to  Pauleta
July 14, 2022 3:14 pm

Forest fuel mismanagement is also ”humans fault”

John the Econ
July 14, 2022 12:46 pm

Reminds me of a nature walk I took in the Yosemite Valley with a park ranger around 25 years ago in the wake of a recent flooding event there that took out most of the CCC cabins from the ’30s. The narrative of “global warming” being responsible for any deviation from a theoretically static baseline of what weather was supposed to be was already in vogue. The ranger kept pointing out the “environmental damage” caused by high water flows.

“Environmental damage?” Caused by the environment? I finally had to stop him and ask, “Exactly what created this miracle of nature that we’re walking through?” Literally thousands of years of extreme weather events, just like the recent flooding. But somehow any flooding event that took place after 1960 was somehow different.

July 14, 2022 1:01 pm

Editorial is the key word. Editorials don’t have to be factual, but the difference is only apparent to traditional journalists. Most media have forgetten what journalism is supposed to be, and few of the remainder have any concern that what they’re doing is commercial propaganda and marketing, rather than reporting. Few of the consumers ever knew the difference.

jeffery P
July 14, 2022 1:26 pm

Just because it’s a “human-start” fire doesn’t mean climate change isn’t to blame.


Reply to  jeffery P
July 14, 2022 2:16 pm

Didn’t us humans cause climate change? So any human caused fire can be attributed to Climate Change…. (sarc)

lee riffee
Reply to  Yooper
July 15, 2022 7:25 am

The article said that they have to melt the glass in a furnace to get the silicon out…so therefore it is very likely that fossil fuels are being used to recycle these panels. Definitely not so green!

July 14, 2022 2:41 pm
Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 14, 2022 5:59 pm

Republicans need to require any panel installed with a state subside be the responsibility of the State to recycle 100% of the materials in the panels. Same for bird choppers.

Also, any state that has a minimum “renewable” energy mandate for their utilities MUSTY be required to PAY 100% of the cost of the recycling of any and all “renewable” generation facilities built to meet that requirement.

The governor of such state who signed the legislation into law and every legislator who voted for these subsidies and minimum renewable requirements shall be personally financially and legally responsible for the full expense. If the legislature established a board or committee and/or the governor appointed members of said committee who was given the power to put this type of requirement in place, all those on the board/committee who caused such requirements to become legally required shall also be held financially and legally liable for expenses necessary to meet the recycling requirements.

Oh, BTW, also include ALL federal Representatives, Senators and Presidents who voted for or signed into law the above mentioned requirements.

And like a time share, the responsibility goes to their spouses and children in perpetuity. Also their pensions shall be allowed to be encumbered to meet the requirements recycling, and no bankruptcy shall be allowed to avoid paying what they owe.

Now as to EVs and their hazardous waste, …………!

July 14, 2022 3:51 pm

I’ve wondered if there is an anthropogenic cause to the California wildfires that’s related to changes in water management.
Jim Steele once wrote that before westerners arrived in the 1850’s, the Central Valley was a damp marshy area with extensive wetlands. When it was converted to agriculture the wetlands were drained. Further when the California Water Project captured the water in the canyons and used it for agriculture and diverted a portion to So. California, there was still a lot of water that was used for irrigation, either from the California water project or pumping from ground water. Evaporation from the agricultural uses of water like put a lot of humidity back in the atmosphere.
A few years back, the state of California decided that more than 35% of the water in normal rainfall years would have to be diverted for environmental discharge to the Sacramento Delta and if it didn’t rain much, then the discharge to the delta and oceans took precedence. This led to ever more groundwater pumping which a few years later the state decided to limit.
Given the size of the Central Valley, if you remove the marsh lands, then stop much of the agricultural use of water and you run the environmental water through concrete lined canals and aqueducts to the sea, you eliminate the source for much of the humidity in the Central Valley in the summer/fall dry months. If that was the case, the drought is anthropogenic, but CO2 has nothing to do with it.

July 14, 2022 5:21 pm

And for his wonderful work, after the Augusta Chronicle was sold to the Gannett group, they promptly “downsized” his position. Rick McKee now works on a daily comic strip called “Mt Pleasant”.

July 14, 2022 6:16 pm

What’s happening now is a ‘thousand year’ political event !

July 14, 2022 6:57 pm

Summer causes very bad fires in California every year. After dry winters the tinder ignites easily and everyone is warned how bad it will be. After wet winters, the tinder grew exceptionally tall and everyone is warned how bad it will be.

Of course, it is the ENSO events that set up the wet and dry winters. But no one has ever claimed that ENSO is caused by climate change, so the cartoon is a fraud.

July 14, 2022 7:02 pm

Columbia, Mo. is the home of the University of Missouri, thus the home of the “professors” and sheeple students who inhabit its warrens. Sad to say, its a leftist haven. So this cartoon and opinion letters in the paper are not a total surprise the more sensible folks in this flyover state. Me, included.

John Hultquist
July 14, 2022 8:28 pm

What Yosemite’s fire history says about life in the Pyrocene | Aeon Essays

There is a long, and studied, history of fire in Yosemite and all over the western states. Scientific advances in diagnostic techniques (high-resolution macroscopic charcoal and pollen analysis) permit longer timelines. These studies are not hard to find. For example, See:
Megan Walsh | Central Washington University (

{ I know Megan and some of her students. }

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  John Hultquist
July 14, 2022 10:38 pm

Thank you for linking to the excellent essay by Dr. Stephen J. Pyne, world’s foremost expert/historian of fire. Among Pyne’s many points is that indigenous human fire ignitions have controlled fuels in Sequoia stands for millennia.

Get that? Human-set fires, not natural lightning fires, have dominated those forests. Human-set fires have been frequent, regular, and ubiquitous since the Hypsithermal. Lightning fires are less frequent, irregular, and start on ridge tops. They have different ecological effects than human-set fires. “Restoring” or “reintroducing” lightning fires will NOT restore Sequoia stands. Those ancient forests were human-tended, and without human tending will not persist.

Wilderness is a myth. Removing people from the landscape in fealty to a myth has serious negative consequences in the real world. The idealism of the eco-Left ignores or denies the true history of landscapes and the beneficial/necessary impacts of human stewardship. Their neo-Ludditism has failed and will always fail to protect and perpetuate our priceless heritage forests.

Mike Edwards
July 14, 2022 10:48 pm

The real irony in all this is that Sequoias REQUIRE fire in order for their seeds to germinate successfully. No fires = no Sequoias.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Mike Edwards
July 15, 2022 8:04 am

Another myth. Completely false. There’s no lack of seedlings.

But look at it this way: the Giant Sequoias are upwards of 1,200 years old. At their size, a fully stocked acre contains 4 trees. That means perpetuating the stand requires one new seedling per acre every 300 years. That’s all. Lack of seedlings is not a problem.

It’s more than crazy to incinerate 1,200 yo trees to generate a sea of 2-inch reprod. That’s like burning your house down to make charcoal for your barbecue.

Doug Huffman
July 15, 2022 3:56 am

I grew up in the Golden Years of Yosemite NP, for instance acquainted as a youth with Ansel Adams, Royal Robbins, et alii. I gifted myself a trip in the anniversary year of the last Firefall, and met the enemy – us tourists. Particularly foreigners that No spika’d Engrish as they climb over No Entry signs for a quick smoke.

Flood it like Hetch Hetchy and be done with it. No more tourists and no more fires.

July 15, 2022 5:17 am

re: “Newspapers are supposed to factually report on events. Apparently, the Columbia Missourian newspaper didn’t get the memo.”

Too bad that WUWT does not itself adhere to such guidelines. Even long time WUWT contributor Willis E. has directly admitted that WUWT publishes “obviously false” content:

Willis E:

“People say ‘But WUWT publishes some things that are obviously false’ … “

“That’s true.”

July 15, 2022 7:28 am

(in the post-woke world, sans his two six-guns one should note)

It was an assault weapon?

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