Yesterday The U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about California’s plan to deal with forest fires.
The article reports:
California is adopting former Donald Trump‘s plan to thin out the state’s 33 million acres of forests with controlled burns and raking the woodland floor – after state officials essentially laughed off the former president’s idea a few years ago.
Trump had suggested in 2018 that the Golden State start sweeping its forest floors of debris that often aids in the spread of wildfires.
But by Aug. 2020, at the peak of the state’s wildfire season, his suggestion became an ultimatum when he withheld wildfire financial aid on the basis of California’s failure to clear its forests of dead trees, branches and leaves, Politico reported at the time.
The frustrating part of this is that if the plan had been adopted in 2018 when it was suggested or even a year later, how many acres of forest (and homes) would have been spared? Instead, because President Trump suggested it while he was President, it wasn’t done until after he left office (so he couldn’t be given credit for it).
The article notes:
During the 2020 California wildfires, 31 people died and another 37 suffered non-fatal injuries due to 9,639 fires spread across the Golden State, according to the website Cal Fire, which tracks wildfires throughout the state.
Then-President Trump continuously blamed the Democrat-dominated state for not doing enough to prevent the widespread wildfires in 2018 and 2019 during his presidency, while threatening to withhold relief funds as environmentally-conscious Californians balked at his ideas.
‘I’ve been telling them this now for three years, but they don’t want to listen,’ Trump said at the August rally. ‘The environment, the environment,’ but they have massive fires again.’
At some point we have to learn to do the right thing regardless of who gets the credit!
There are, however, still some naysayers:
However, conservation director for Los Padres ForestWatch Bryant Baker warns that these kinds of controlled burns threaten the native plant areas of Southern California’s national forests.
‘There are issues with just assuming this is some sort silver bullet in changing overall fires in the state,’ Baker said. ‘Prescribed fire is not going to be the thing that stops very large wind-driven fires that are occurring.’
Gov. Newsom is already asking the state’s legislature to give him $2 billion more in an effort to accelerate the forest thinning process in the fiscal year starting July 1, according to Bloomberg.
‘Wildfires don’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries. As we respond to wildfires in real-time this summer, improving coordination between the major stewards of California’s forested land will help us protect communities and restore forest health across California,’ Newsom said in a statement obtained by Politico.
I’m sorry that the controlled burns threaten the native plant areas, but somehow I don’t think the native plant areas have done too well in the recent wild fires.