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California wildfire: Blaming climate – ignoring incompetence –

By Paul Driessen|November 19th, 2018|Climate|
Two more raging infernos in California have burned an area nearly ten times the size of Washington, DC. Wildlife and habitats have been torched. Over 8,000 homes and businesses, and nearly the entire town of Paradise, are now ashes and rubble. Cars were partly charred and melted as they escaped the flames, others completely incinerated, sometimes with occupants still inside. Well over 60 people have perished. Over 50,000 are homeless. Hundreds remain missing.

President Trump expressed deep support for the thousands of courageous firefighters battling the conflagrations, urged residents to evacuate quickly and expedited disaster assistance to the ravaged communities. He also sent a poorly crafted tweet: “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

The tweet is “partisan,” “ill-informed” and “insensitive” to those who are suffering, state politicians and celebrities railed – before engaging in their own ill-informed, partisan insensitivity.

“This is not the ‘new normal.’ This is the ‘new abnormal,’ Governor Jerry Brown asserted. “And this new abnormal will continue. Dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they’re going to intensify.” We have to “do more” on forest management, he continued. “But managing all the forests everywhere we can does not stop climate change. And those who deny that are definitely contributing to the tragedies that we’re now witnessing and will continue to witness in the coming years.” This chart refutes his climate claims.

Resorting to “manmade climate change” has become the favorite, most politically expedient tactic for deflecting attention away from the abject, ideological, even criminally incompetent forest management practices demanded by politicians, regulators, judges and environmentalists in recent decades.

The hard, incontrovertible reality is that California is and always has been a largely arid state, afflicted on repeated occasions by prolonged droughts, interspersed with periods of intense rainfall, and buffeted almost every autumn by powerful winds that can whip forest fires into infernos.

43% of California timberlands are privately owned, 1% are state owned, and all of them are governed by state laws, regulations and regulators. The remaining 56% are federally owned and managed, largely by preservation-oriented, change-resistant bureaucrats, subject to constant litigation by environmentalists.

This past summer brought unusual rainfall that spurred plant growth. It was followed by hot weather that dried foliage out and set the stage for conflagrations in thick, poorly managed brush and trees.

In this context, it doesn’t much matter if the state is also now confronting climate change, whether natural or manmade – or that California’s or the world’s average temperatures may have risen 0.01, 0.1, 0.5 or even 1.0 degree in recent decades. It doesn’t matter if humans or nature caused the recent fires.