There is much controversy surrounding the out-of-control raging wildfires in the Western U.S. Blame is being passed around the table liked a gravy bowl. While some are singing the song of climate change, others are blaming poor forestry management, and the wildest of the wild are screaming arson.
Let’s start with the illustrious Bill Clinton. Saxophone blowing Bill, while better known for his use of cigars in White House, did manage to do a little work during his time in office. But it was his terrible work that helped pave the way for the fiery sparks making their way across our Western states.
Somewhere around the time when Clinton was getting ready to vacate the Oval Office, he signed a bill which severely limited our nation’s forest service’s ability to thin out overly dense forest areas, and to remove dead fallen trees which were considered conducive to easily catching fire.
According to Bob Zybach, an experienced forestation contractor with over 20-years in the business, and who holds a Ph.D. in environmental science, Clinton’s foolish move was a time bomb that has at last detonated.
“If you don’t start managing these forests, then they are going to start burning up. Thirty years later, they are still ignoring it,” he said. Zybach was quoting his own warning from years ago when he told officials how not conducting controlled burns will lead to a forest full of highly ignitable kindling. Zybach was 100% correct.
Zybach said how dried up dead trees mixed with a culmination of dried accumulated underbrush is worse than a matchstick dipped in jet fuel. It’s not a matter of if it will ignite, it’s a matter of when. That when is now.
Also attributed to the tragedy is how two years prior to Bill Clinton’s reckless restriction of log cutting, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, in their efforts to protect the then endangered Great Spotted Owl, had also placed restrictions on log cutting. Clinton only made things worse.
When properly controlled, harvesting timber does much greater good for the environment than banning the practice, so saving an owl was not a good tradeoff. Once an area is cleared of trees, new trees are planted at acceptable distances from one another.
Zybach added, “The prescribed burns are an ancient form of management for keeping the fuels down so these events don’t happen.” He was referring to how Native Americans used controlled burns to keep pests away, and to prevent wildfires from destroying their homes.
“Wildfires reminiscent of the Tillamook burn, the 1910 fires and the Yellowstone fire,” Zybach warned in 1994. is what we could expect. He nailed it.
Tim Ingalsbee, a fire ecologist since the 1980s, said the best solution is to “to get good fire on the ground and whittle down some of that fuel load.”
“It’s just … well … it’s horrible. Horrible to see this happening when the science is so clear and has been clear for years. I suffer from Cassandra syndrome,” Ingalsbee said. This was spoken in reference to the Greek god Cassandra used as a metaphor for people who will not pay attention to valid warnings.
“Every year I warn people: Disaster’s coming. We got to change. And no one listens. And then it happens.” Ingalsbee said other officials besides him have issued similar warnings but they always fell of deaf ears.
Obama expressed in a recent tweet, “The fires across the West Coast are just the latest examples of the very real ways our changing climate is changing our communities.” While this certainly has a smidgen of truth to it, he fails to recognize how the Democrats of the past, including him for his inaction, have helped fuel what we are now witnessing.
So when Donald Trumps revealed the real reason why the West is burning down, he wasn’t discounting climate change or even suggesting it doesn’t to some degree exist, he was pointing at the bigger problem. The far bigger problem.