California Wildfires Spark Debate & Study

In light of 4,976 separate wildfires in California so far this year, and Congressman Tom McClintock noted the state has enough water to fight the fires but the problem is overgrown forests.
“It’s the same old story. I asked them what the tree density was in the forests where the fire is,” McClintock said. “It’s about 300 trees per acre.” “A healthy density in the Sierra is about 80 to 100 trees,” McClintock continued. (Sacramento Bee, August 10, 2018)
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said climate change had “nothing to do” with California’s wildfires, as he visited neighborhoods hard hit by the massive Carr Fire. “I’ve heard the climate change argument back and forth. This has nothing to do with climate change. This has to do with active forest management,” Zinke told Sacramento TV station KCRA.
It’s a tone the Interior secretary struck throughout his visit to Redwood, Calif., where, alongside Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, he met with local officials and fire crews battling the wildfire.
Zinke echoed President Trump in his assertion that active forest management — including logging — is the key to stopping the forest fires.
“It doesn’t matter whether you believe or don’t believe in climate change. What is important is we manage our forests,” Zinke told reporters while visiting the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. (The Hill, Aug 13, 2018)
Two top officials of the Trump administration, winding up a tour of fire-ravaged Redding, insisted Monday that removing dead trees and thinning forests – not addressing climate change – are the keys to dealing with California wildfires.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, pressed by reporters about climate change and the state’s record-setting blazes, were quick to pivot the conversation back to forest management.
At a press conference at a U.S. Forest Service base, Perdue held up a historical graph of wildfire activity, showing a previous spurt of big blazes that ravaged the state before a quieter period started in the 1920s.
“Has it happened before?,” said Perdue, whose agency oversees the Forest Service. “Yes it has.”
Zinke, however, said the legislation would merely pave the way for “sustainable” and responsible thinning of forests.
While acknowledging temperatures have risen, Zinke and Perdue repeatedly refused to link climate conditions with California’s fire risks. “It’s not ‘climate change equals fires’,” Zinke said, “It’s a variable in a longer equation that includes (tree) density, mortality… fuel loads, species.
“Whether you are a proponent, opponent, believer or non-believer, it doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to take care of public lands,” Zinke added. (Sacramento Bee, August 13, 2018)
Randy Thomasson of states: “Stop and realize what’s happening. At the behest of the Left’s environmental groups (which have dramatically raised the cost of your water and your housing), California’s ruling Democrat state legislators have done NOTHING to PREVENT wildfires. Their unloving inaction was evident last year, when there were 9,133 separate wildfires killing family members and destroying family homes.
Thomasson urges Californians to call their two state legislators (Senator Dodd and Assemblywoman Cecilia Currey-Aguilar) to demand they PREVENT wildfires. “Thin out forests, clear away brush, do controlled burns, and create firebreaks near population centers. Do your job to protect California families. Stop this epidemic of wildfires now!”
This past Tuesday, August 28, the legislative Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness discussed and approved key elements of a proposed committee report including provisions for protecting Californians from future wildfires and preventing electric utility ratepayers from bearing unfair costs.
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, co-chairman of the 10-member committee, “the status quo is unacceptable.”
Key elements of the report include:
Utility Fire Prevention and Planning.
Forestry and Landscape Management
Public Utilities Commission Reasonableness Review
Investor-owned Utility Ratepayer Bonds
Mutual Aid Improvement
Jobs and worker Protection
Investment in Forestry, Fire and Carbon Reduction
Establish a Blue Ribbon Commission
The state’s Conference Committee website is:

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