1/

This is #California’s big secret: it’s not #ClimateChange that’s burning up the forests, killing people & destroying hundreds of homes; it’s decades of environmental mismanagement that has created a tinderbox of unharvested timber, dead trees & thick underbrush.

#wildfires
2/
Trees grow until they die, burn, or get harvested. If harvesting declines, tree mortality and fires increase. It’s the tyranny of math.
3/
In the early 1990s, a series of restrictions were placed on logging in the West to protect the Spotted Owl... with owl numbers continuing to decline—even after the California timber harvest plummeted—due to predation from other raptors.
4/
The irony is that forest management is so bad... that the portion of California’s National Forests protected from timber harvesting is now a net contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide due to fires and trees killed by insects and disease.
5/
... Unlike much of the American South and East, California has a distinct wet season, with Pacific storms rolling in by November or December and wrapping up by March. In even the wettest years (2016-17 was the wettest in 122 years) much of California is bone-dry by late fall.
6/
Thus, it isn’t #ClimateChange that sets the conditions for fires—it’s California’s natural weather pattern. Comparing acres burned in wildfires to weather & tree harvest data, there appears to be... a big connection to the growing forest fuel load
7/
... especially on government land.

Which brings us back to policy. If federal and state environmental policies continue to make it difficult and costly to harvest timber and manage the fuel load, then the wildfires will continue and they will be bigger and deadlier.
8/
This will, in due course, cause some politicians to blame the fires on climate change.

In the meantime, the timber harvest infrastructure is less than one-third of what it was 30 years ago...
Source:

Forbes article Feb 25, 2019.
Nothing has improved yet.
URL:

forbes.com/sites/chuckdev…

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