Editor’s note: This piece comes to us from NWAF! member Robin Stanley.
Joseph Goebbels (http://www.HolocaustResearchProject.org) wrote, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” I am afraid this is what is happening in our national forest management debate. I cannot understand for the life of me how people can say weather and not fuel is underpinning our catastrophic fire issue. Our science books, for the past 50 years, have said fire requires heat, oxygen and fuel. Yet some people profess that fuel is not the issue. Instead it is the weather. This argument is ridiculous for the following reasons.
First, I can have fire under any conditions. I can have fire on a blow torch under water. I can think of no condition where I cannot have fire. I can have a bon fire in a pouring down rainstorm if I can get the wood hot enough to burn. While I do not profess to be a scientist, what science I do know tells me that while weather plays a huge factor, the only thing weather really does is to modify the fuel so it either can or cannot reach a combustible temperature. But the wood is still the fuel. Without the fuel, we would have no fire and weather becomes irrelevant. If there is enough fuel and enough heat, there is fire and again, weather becomes irrelevant. For anyone to suggest that weather is the problem and not the fuel boggles my mind.
Secondly, even if one were to mistakenly believe that weather is the culprit, what can we do about it? I guess we can wait for global climate change to reverse cycles and begin a cooler, wetter trend. That may take a century or more so in the mean time we just watch our forests and rural communities burn. OR maybe we try to do something about the fuel. If we cannot control the weather, why NOT try to do something about the fuel. I will bet you my new Acadia, that if we removed all the fuel source from our national forests, we would no longer have catastrophic fires.
While I know that is a ridiculous statement in that we can never, nor should we ever attempt to remove ALL the fuel sources, we can lesson our exposure to catastrophic fire by decreasing the amount of fuel. It is as simple as taking your foot off a gas pedal in a car. Less gas, you slow down, less fuel in the woods, the fire slows down. Don’t take no rocket scientist to figure that one out.
So in closing my challenge to the “it’s the weather” preachers is show me what you propose doing to address the catastrophic wild fire problems. Instead of just blaming the weather in order to prevent the removal of the fuel source, show us what you suggest we do to protect our forests from catastrophic fire, from water sheds being destroyed, from wild life habitat being charred and the loss of human life and property. Instead of just blaming it on the weather (that by the way cannot even defend itself) offer an alternative to the current failed forest management practices. I am very anxious to hear what your real alternatives are.