Welcome to the (Unnecessary) Mega Fire Generation!
By Del Albright, Retired Fire Chief
By Del Albright, Retired Fire Chief
25-30 years ago, a 10,000 – 15,000-acre fire was a huge conflagration. Now we are experiencing 100,000 - 400,000-acre fires regularly.
NO! It is not understaffed or ill-trained firefighters.
NO! It is not Mamma Nature getting even with our urban sprawl.
NO! It is not careless campers or hunters.
NO! It is not kids with matches.
- CONTROLLED BURNS:
Going back to Native Americans in America, controlled burning (later called Prescribed Fire) have saved the west from huge conflagrations. By burning large brush fields and using fire to thin understory brush in the forest, we kept the big boomers at bay. We had programs designed to reduce “chaparral” in the west, thus limiting the ability for fires to get ragingly out of control.
- ROADS/FIRE BREAKS:
When I started with the fire service in the 1970’s we had regularly scheduled building, repairing, cleaning, and maintaining fire breaks around rural housing areas and developments. We kept fire roads cleared and usable for large fire equipment. We had access to remote areas which allowed us to attack fires when they were small. Roads provided a place to start a safe backfire. Oh, backfires! Another art nearly lost today due to liability and excessive oversight by the media and radical enviro groups who have political power.
- LOGGING/TIMBER MANAGEMENT:
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you probably remember sawmills. They are all gone for the most part because the radical environmental rules have made logging a financial nightmare. You wonder why wood is so expensive these days? We cannot log; that’s why. Yes, there are still a few holdouts logging here and there. But the feds are hampered by so many regulations and restrictions that our timber stands either get bug infested or succumb to wildfires.
Public land management is no longer based on science but rather politics. The same goes for wildlife management. Radical enviro groups lobby politicians (and raise untold dollars in support) to STOP all the things that will make our forests, brushlands, and deserts safe and healthy. It is ironic (and pathetic) because for all their efforts to “save the world” they are destroying our world, piece by piece. To see fires in California reach half a million acres is beyond belief!
What can we do? We must STOP the silliness and over-regulation and allow sound public land management, never forgetting that public lands are FOR the public. Help good politicians get elected and stay in office. Recall bad politicians. Do everything in your power to negate, refute or STOP the radical movement that has stagnated management of our resources.
Can you provide some sources on your explanation, especially where lack of prescribed burns is directly correlating with wild fires? I would like to have so more evidence to support your excellent write up.
You bet. Part 2 of Mega Fires will come out this week. It's all about Prescribed Fires. Also watch that mega fire video on my landuseDel page.Delete
Is it a stretch of the imagination and/or an unreasonable proposition that fires require fuel to burn, and where there is more fuel there are larger fires?ReplyDelete
You are correct -- fuel loading is a huge part of the current problem. It's out of control.Delete
Why did Facebook take down your postReplyDelete
Better management of the forest to cut down on wildfires has been talked about for quite some time. What you say makes sense. Why isn't better management of the forest taking place.
Because it doesn't fit the FARCEbook treehugger liberal narrative......Delete
They say I violated community standards, might cause someone harm, or make people feel unsafe. Total BS.Delete
Del, is it OK to copy and paste your post “Mega Fire Generation on Face Book?ReplyDelete
Please do. My stuff is always for sharing.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Excellent post with great information! Much of the forestry management you mentioned was discussed in a firefighter training program in Iowa even back in the 90s, and those instructors were saying then that the west was going to continue to see larger and more uncontrollable fires in the future due to the dead, dry underbrush remaining in the forest just waiting for a spark and some wind. Of course, the "save the forest" types refuse to listen to reaaon and understand that nature actually sometimes relies of fire as part of a natural cycle!ReplyDelete
Yes, for sure. Be sure to come over to my FB landuseDel page to see the follow up articles.Delete
Thank you Del for sharing this and your link to your blog. I shared your post earlier today and noticed within a couple hours that Facebook had pulled it. So I’m going to save it and keep posting the heck out of it if they do it again.ReplyDelete
Right on! Thank you.Delete
Are you sure it was facebook that took it down, or the group moderator?ReplyDelete
It was FB. I'm my own moderator. :)Delete
It was on my personal, Del page. No moderators. It was all FB and the probable orchestrated attack against facts -- but I did have a few un-nice words in their like wacko, radicals. The new version does not have those words.
I, too, would like to see references to specific laws, maps of roads that have been closed, etc. I also wonder if before large scale logging and forest management, if there were mega-fires like now. Seems like there would be evidence of such and I'm curious.ReplyDelete
Be sure to watch the Era of Mega Fires on my business page, Facebook.com/LanduseDel to get a great explanation. And future parts of this same series will be more focused on your topics.Delete
United States federal policy was implemented that worked to extinguish *all* wildfires. The policy was misguided.
Fighting wildfires through land management is a critical strategy. For example, controlled fires are vital to limit the fuel that a wildfire would use to burn.
However, in the current context, controlling wildfires through traditional land management techniques is like putting a band-aid on a wound – except the wound is a leg that has gone through a wood-chipper.
We know wildfires in the United States are increasing in frequency and scope. Link: https://bit.ly/3kg2w2M
You hypothesize that poor land management policy, federal regulations, and misguided behavior are the key drivers of the historic wildfires.
If this were the case, then it would follow that we should only see an increase in the United States.
It is their land management regulations that are the problem, no?
Let’s look at a few data points.
The Brazilian Amazon forest was on fire in 2019. It is again. Link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/09/amazon-fires-brazil-rainforest
The Australian Outback was on fire in 2019. It burned over 12 million acres, which is bigger than the state of Maryland. Link: https://abcnews.go.com/International/us-map-examine-scale-massive-australia-wildfires/story?id=68102703
These countries *do not* have the same policies or laws.
For the land management hypothesis to be supported,each of these countries would have to simultaneously had terrible land management policies that led to historically massive wildfires at the same time in very different places on the planet.
The land management hypothesis seems to not fit the data.
Now, there is a hypothesis that would explain what is occurring – and it is one that scientists posited in the 1950s (or 1896 if you want to give the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius credit) and predicted many of the events we see today.
In the last 150+ years, humans have released more Carbon Dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) than at any point in human history. We release Carbon Dioxide from burning things like oil, coal, and natural gas (which is dead organic matter that has Carbon as its core element). Link: https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions
Carbon dioxide traps heat quite efficiently in comparison to things like nitrogen and oxygen, which make up the majority of the gases of our atmosphere.
The extra Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere traps more heat.
Increased heat means our planet has more volatile *climate-driven* events.
One such volatile event is drought. Drought causes forests and other plants to dry out. These dried out plants become fuel for wildfires. The more fuel means more extensive and more extreme wildfires.
There is a solution. We need to decrease our use of Carbon-based energy sources.
Wow, thank you for writing. May I share this? I am certainly not trying to say that climate shift and warmer/dryer summers are insignificant. I just don't want folks to be confused about the other factors -- lack of management based on current conditions and human desires.Delete
Combating wildfires is likely a both/and strategy. It's not either/or.
Follow the empirical science wherever it may lead, and then alter the strategy when the data tells us to.
Of course, you may share.
Since I to worked in the fire community for 25 of my 43 years in Land Management don't have the science to back up my same assessment as yours. It is the failed policies of the environmental (liberal) community and the infiltration of those folks into the Wildland Management community that has created this wildfire delima. We shall overcome. Cam
Absolutely. If we do not adapt our abilities to manage lands/forests, etc. to the current conditions of our backcountry, we will never be free of what we are seeing right now, today.Delete
Could you please point to these “liberal” regulations that have hampered Forrest management? It’s a pretty empty hypothesis as it stands. Particularly given the known data regarding climate change. Pretty big leap your making to blame it on liberals. Back it up.ReplyDelete
NEPA, CEQA (in CA), National Forest Management Act, Endangered Species act, Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, etc. All of these have great components to help our world stay healthier, but interwoven in the 'acts' are tons of restrictions and burdens to land managers trying to be PROACTIVE to climate disasters like mega fires.Delete
Maybe viewing my photos taken here in Montana will give you an understanding for the need of improved forest management. This area is within 1 mile of private land owners on 3 sides and many homes. Its only a matter of time before it's a major fire and threat to our community and entire Valley. https://youtu.be/4-48xrZ0ZewDelete
BRAVO ZULU SIR ! ! !ReplyDelete
An Excellent explanation of the fundamental underlying causes of our current out of control wildland fire situation. Your blog will be used to see if we can wake up the citizens of the City of Brisbane,Ca to the urgent need to create a minimum 200'fire break through the Heavy Fuel concentration on the Wildland/Urban Interface above the Town. The fuel load and topography there is almost identical to what we saw in the tragic 2017 "Tubbs" incident in Santa Rosa and the equally tragic 2018 "Carr" incident that decimated the town of Paradise.
Thank You, Sir, for your very informative article.
Thanks for the feedback. Good luck with the fuel break.ReplyDelete
I just wish the phrase "radical enviros" was not employed so often. I have to think that some of these policies were supported by more, if you will, "mainstream enviros," but tarring all of then with the term "radical" may not be helpful, and could be unnecessarily polarizing. By the way, I am awaiting a response from some of those mainstream groups, just to see how they might respond to your contentions. I always try to find out what "perpetrators" have to say. Oh, I hope you have considered debunking the conspiracy theorists who say that "antifa" started the fires.ReplyDelete
May I repost this series on my blog? Very informative and hopeful that this will make a difference. Real change needs to occur or "Mega-fires" will destroy the landscape completely.ReplyDelete
Del, thanks for the report. I have concerns about the forest where we live in Montana. Here's a link to some photos I took of the standing dead trees and blow downs just piling up year after year: https://youtu.be/4-48xrZ0ZewReplyDelete