If We Don’t Maintain Our Forests Properly, Nature Will, With Fire

Whatever natural disaster comes roaring down the pike, like a forest fire, the global-warming crowd points the blame finger and cries, “Wolf!”. They love lying to the public that weather is the same as climate and that disasters abound because of “man-made” warming.

The latest example: In shrill voices, the wacko enviros have been bleating that recent smoky skies in the Northeast, caused by the “rising” incidence of Canadian wildfires, are yet another sign that climate apocalypse is nearly on us. They refuse to admit that the real culprit behind wildfires is disastrous forest management and a plethora of new environmental laws. This has allowed dry wood and underbrush–the perfect fuel—to accumulate for long periods of time. “Like an untended garden, an abandoned forest will grow until it chokes itself to death,” says the Wall Street Journal.

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Canada has no plausible evidence of a connection between the smoke event and climate change. Such claims are not consistent with peer-reviewed science or the observational record. Forest fires are not rare in Southern Canada and are not a sign of climate change. Preceding weather conditions in the area were normal. Then, a strong high-pressure area warmed and dried south-central Canada and set the stage for ignition sources provided by lightning storms. However, scientific climate literature and peer-reviewed research demonstrate no correlation between a warming planet and high-and low-pressure areas.

In the U.S., we can look to the 1970s to discover what went wrong to set our country on the wrong wilderness path. Liberal Congresses passed laws that imposed cost-prohibitive and onerous regulations that overturned nature’s time-tested natural life cycle of a forest. Fire is part of this cycle, as fire spurs the pine cones and seed pods, carrying seeds, to open up. Forests renew themselves through fire disturbances. Timber companies practice sustainable management—they clean the forest floor of dead limbs and underbrush, put space between trees, and seed and plant saplings after a forest is cut. Excess timber comes out of a forest in two ways: cut and carried out or burned out. But environmental extremists demanded that forests remain out-of-bounds, cordoned off to all humans.

Forest Fire

In addition to leftist politicians, environmentalist laws have caused other significant forest problems. Enviros require the Forest Service to manage forests differently than in previous decades by piling on the lists of species labeled as “endangered” and “threatened.” This makes the Forest Service a hostage to the left because it means no tree-cutting at all, no thinning out of overgrown forests, and no prescribed burns. This turns forests into tinderboxes just waiting for the next lightning strike, as Californians know well. And by killing the timber harvests in forests, the activists also killed the forest-management and fire-management funds that timber sales had provided. So now, instead of producing revenues, environmentalist rules have cost the government money. Taxpayers foot the bill.

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In summary, timber harvests on federal land have dropped 80%, while forest destruction by fire has increased proportionately. Enviros blame climate change, but that’s bunk because it does not explain the dramatic differences between federal land and privately-owned forests that practice scientific forest management. The primary culprit behind the fires raging in the U.S. and Canada is environmentalist demands to stop thinning out overgrown forests. Prescribed burns would prevent wildfires from spreading out of control and would reduce carbon dioxide emissions far more than electric-vehicle and offshore wind mandates by governments. The evidence does not show a connection between the New England smoke event and climate change. The number of Quebec wildfires is decreasing; there is no upward trend of acres burned by wildfires, which would be expected if global warming was the cause.

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