Fire Up the Coast

John Antczak/Associated Press

"Smoke from wildfires burning east of Los Angeles dimmed the sunrise on Monday..." New York Times.

Jill Cowan made a sweeping declaration in her September 8, 2020, article, Fire and Heat Hit California Again. She stated that they are "driven by climate change." But as the climate debate and west coast wildfires rage on, critical evidence was omitted that reveals the true cause of these worsening, yearly monster-fires: Lack of forest management.

Clear-cutting and controlled burns use to be standard operating procedure for eliminating potentially flammable dry wood and brush, and for minimizing unplanned burns, as a method of natural disaster prevention. But past administrations' environmental policies, pressured by activists and lobbyists, have enacted regulations that prevented managing the forests. Their position was that it interfered with wildlife, such as endangered minnow or insect species. And while we all agree on the need for clean air, water, and care of our environmental surroundings, the extremists take their cause to the next level of placing the safety and protection of tadpoles and beetles above that of human beings and communities.

Lenya Quinn-Davidson/Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association

Last year's Camp Fire was deadliest CA wildfire.

The inferno, in Camp Fire, near Paradise, CA, was also the single most expensive natural disaster in world history, in terms of insured losses. While it was sparked by electrical transmission, this year's wildfires were triggered by a homeowner's negligence in using pyrotechnics at a party. Even though human error is often a catalyst for fire, those that once burned naturally have now become fires that violently explode, raging wildly because of massive, combustable dead wood and brush, which should have been cleared and preventively burned under controlled conditions. On May 29, 2019, the Sacramento Bee published, Fighting fire with fire: Should California burn its forests to protect against catastrophe? In the article, it stated that, "...a growing body of experts say California is neglecting a major tool in its battle against mega-fires: the practice of fighting fire with fire. "...they say fire agencies should conduct more “prescribed” burns — fires that are deliberately set, under carefully controlled conditions, to reduce the fuels that can feed a disaster." Then, fires which don't threaten people, infrastructure, or private property, would be allowed to naturally burn themselves out. Says Shelly Allen (in the SacBee article,) “These fires come and they really clean up our ground fuels, so when a fire comes in here the next time, you’re going to have less of an impact.”

John McCann on Unsplash

Nothing is as beautiful as a day in nature.

A magnificent park or forest outing is the best therapy! Not many things can lift our spirits and contribute to emotional well-being as much as an outdoor adventure. And forest management will not only facilitate our hope and healing, it can aid in healing forest fire victims, and provide hope for their future safety & protection against the recent outbreaks (and prospective elimination) of megafire-catastrophes.

"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds," Psalm 147:3 (KJV). I am reminded of the saying that God helps those who help themselves. Hopefully, we will involve ourselves in the work of improving our communities, environment, and policies to benefit society and the world around us. While we live in remarkable times, with God's help, we ordinary people working together can still achieve extraordinary accomplishments, both individually and collectively.

So, once again, best wishes for happy trails of joy and success to you and yours!

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