Odds and Ends
1 12, 12:18am
As someone who actually lives near Paradise and the fire zone, part of the problem is that the Cali greens have this wrong idea about forests. They put out all the fires, allowing a massive build up of biomass. They prevented the harvesting of deadwood - not just tree thinning. The tree density is around 40 trees per acre* instead of a much more healthy 15 or so. They ignored the devastation of an invasive beetle that made that dense forest have many dead trees, refusing to use pesticides to kill the beetle or remove the dead trees.
"It's natural, don't you see" said the greens. Yet the prevented the summer wildfires for years. Decades. They couldn't see the forest for the trees. The dense, dying trees.
40 trees per acre, many of them dead. The ground piled with decades of leaf litter, dry brush, and deadwood. Think about that, my Nordic chums.
Now in California we have a Mediterranean climate. That means during the winter months we get rain and cold, and the three other seasons are dry with very hot summers. My Nordic friends this is NOT a taiga forest.
I mean it's not like a lot of Californians did not point out the problem. Yell and scream about it even, especially those of us who live near those forests in the less fashionable parts of the state. But our politics are weighted by population and the two vast cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles have nearly all the votes in our legislature. They don't live near forests. They visit them to protest loggers and hug trees. So they stopped any harvests, any clearings, and any new roads through the forests. They shot down the logging industries in all the small, unfashionable towns far away from them.
One spark. A downed power line, or the hot exhaust pipe of a car pulled on the road side. All that wood. Dry wood built up after years. Whoosh. No firebreaks. No roads to get to the fires. The dry autumn winds of a California autumn.
78 confirmed dead so far. The lucky asphyxiated before they burned to death. The unlucky didn't. 300+ still missing. My friends and family are the lucky ones - a house can be rebuilt.
I hope that maybe, just maybe, the rest of my fellow Californians change their minds and their legislators minds about forest management. Maybe allow some, I dunno, logging? Clearing out reasonable amounts of deadwood? Creating service roads to access the deep forest? It's not like we don't know how to manage a forest.
*An acre is one chain by one furlong for you metric people out there, AKA the rest of the world ;-)