Wildfires Are Getting Worse, What Can We Do To Help?

Alex Camerino | FireFire
Worse Wildfires
Climate Change is leading to more intense wildfires. The fires are getting worse as we remain idle. Photo: The National Tribune

Yes, wildfires are natural phenomena, however, they are getting worse due to climate change. The apocalyptic scenes coming out of California, Oregon, and Washington are a window into the future. The United States, the Russian Arctic, and Australia have all seen the most devastating fires in history over the last decade. Mother nature is ringing the alarm bells, but what can we do to help?

A Brief History of Wildfires

The first wildland firefighters defended Yellowstone National Park in 1886. In 1908 the Forest Fires Emergency Act was created to allocate specific funds for fighting wildfires. From the early days of wildfire fighting the main goal was suppressing fires so they would burn as few acres as possible. In 1967 the concept of prescribed burns was introduced, which is now a key mitigation strategy used. However, it was not until the devastating fires in and around Yellowstone in 1988 that wildland firefighting came into the modern era.

Decades of suppression led to a build-up of smaller fuels littered across the forest floor. In a natural fire cycle, dead trees and branches are dry fuel waiting for ignition. These fires burn until wet weather extinguishes them, or they run out of fuel.

Dealing With the Consequences

Since 1988 the Department of the Interior has been correcting the mistakes of over a decade of fire management. Every year hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands undergo prescribed burns. Communities clear brush around their homes to decrease the risk of fire spread. However, those along with other fire mitigation techniques are proving no match for climate change.

As our climate warms the risk of wildfires increases. Throughout the west, trees are dying from bark beetles. Those trees then become additional fuel for fires. Although bark beetles are not killing trees because of climate change more of them survive the mild winters which are becoming more frequent. In addition, mild winters mean less snowpack for many regions. In the springtime that equates to less water and areas that dry much faster. Warmer summers lead to vegetation drying sooner and faster. Storms are gaining intensity as well which leads to explosive scenarios like those living in the west are currently experiencing.

So, is there anything you can do to help? Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to stop fires from getting worse. However, you can reduce your daily environmental impact and support policies that protect our public lands for generations to come.

Prescribed Burn
A USFS Hot Shot lights dry grass on fire during a prescribed burn. This method of controlled burning reduces fuel sources for future fires. Photo: NPS

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11 thoughts on “Wildfires Are Getting Worse, What Can We Do To Help?

  1. Pretty dismal way to end this one… so are we all doomed to choke with smoke every summer and burn to death? The majority of wildfires are human caused, be smart about your impact when outdoors and don’t start the next one.

  2. Controlled burning policies are minimal at best. We need to start funding and creating policies that include extensive prescribed burns. The Native Americans that lived in our area were burning areas around their living zones to protect themselves, long before climate change. Learn from the past to create a safer future. Portugal is one country that implements massive controlled burns all through out the country in the spring. Learn from what the Portuguese are doing, as they have lost entire small cities in the past. The forest has been logged extensively and these practices have taken away the old growth canopy forest. Making small trees compete against one another and creating massive amounts of deadfall. Prevention is a lot cheaper, and will hopefully not cost people to lose their homes and lives. Our country and or our state should start to step up and create new ideas and plans that honor or our current climate.

  3. Lobby the forest service to do more logging and more controlled burns.

    Stop giving money to North Face, Patagonia and the Sierra Club. All these organizations have lobbyists and attorneys who sue the government to keep the forest in a “natural state” free from human interaction. They use the NEPA process and the endangered species list to sue the forest service into a “hands off” approach.

    Forest left untouched and unmanaged will continue to burn on this scale.

  4. Again, wildfires are not getting worse.:

    http://climaterealism.com/2020/09/the-truth-about-wildfires-that-gov-newsom-has-no-patience-for/; climaterealism.com/2020/08/npr-paints-wildfire-apocalypse-as-drought-wildfires-decline/;

    As for climate change, good luck with that. Nobody on earth, or who has ever been on earth, has been able to do anything about all the climate changes the earth has gone through over the ages. There are enough data–data not corrupted by political agendas or monetary gain–to show that there isn’t much, if any, warming of the entire planet, only regional and hemispherical fluctuations, and seasonal heatwaves and wildfires are normal in the American west. And temperature record-keeping is a relatively recent phenomenon, relatively recent in geologic time, and is only as good as the location of the sensors; when sensors are placed in urban locations in and surrounded by concrete, they’ll read hotter than sensors placed out of urban centers, so data collected in urban areas are suspect. There are plenty of non-corrupted data to show that fires in the west are in themselves natural, and are made more impactful as a result of poor forest management and environmentalist’s ideas about trying to keep forests ‘natural,’ forgetting the obvious fact that in a truly natural environment there would be periodic fires as there always have been that would cleanse the forest and thereby create new growth…and the cycle would repeat at irregular intervals.

    1. People in OR, WA, & CA have been so indoctrinated by the Climate Change advocates that they couldn’t possibly believe wildfires could be the result of arsonists, banned logging, too much environmentalist influence in the forest service, or lack of controlled burning.

      Climate Change is a 1 size fits all for all their problems.

      They’ve lost simple logic like, if America produces all the oil it needs here domestically, we can stop worrying about Middle East stability and sending our military over there. If America produces all the oil it needs we might create a couple million good paying jobs instead of shipping them over to Venezuela or the Middle East.

      Don’t worry Climatologists, Elon Musk and his competitors will soon make it possible to have oil become partially obsolete. But don’t be stupid in the mean time and give our money / jobs away to people in other countries.

      If you want to focus on someplace to try and make an impact on global warming, focus on China.

      1. The same environmentalists (Sierra Clubs, REI’s, Patagonias, North Faces) that push for all the climate change issues will not allow TESLA and the State of Nevada to open a new Lithium mine 100 miles from Elon’s Battery Factory. They use laws meant to protect Sage Grouse, which is basically a rare wild chicken that lives in the Desert from Northern CA, Southern OR, Norther NV, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado. It is NOT on the endangered species list.

        https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/greater-sage-grouse

        Anyways long story short, the outdoor companies we all support also prevent the raw ingredients needed to make battery from being mined in America. Tesla ships it Lithium from S America on ships burning oil to its factory in NV.

        If you really want to make an impact on Climate Change have a chat with lobbyists of the companies above and figure out why they don’t support a Lithium mine in Nevada to make batteries to save us all from Climate Change.

        Oh wait, I know why, cause if they actually fixed a problem, they wouldn’t have a reason to have a job, or at at least they’d have less issues to work on and keep themselves busy.

      2. Your comment about the US being self-sufficient in oil production is myopic and simplistic. The oil market is global—disruption of supply in one part of the world affects the market everywhere else. Just because the US might have the capacity to produce all of the oil that it needs, oil companies will not pursue this production if it is not cost-effective for them. The only way to keep jobs in the US is to isolate the US market from the rest of the world. I’ll stand by to see if you’re able to convince Exxon-Mobil et al. to buy into that plan.

        1. Your comments are uniformed and ignorant. America currently is a net exporter of oil. We produce more than we consume. No crap it’s a world wide oil market. The world wide market gives American producers the opportunity to sell excess oil not consumed in the United States. All oil producers try and sell at the highest prices possible. You always have to account for shipping costs which cut into the net price a producer receives.

          US oil production creates millions of high paying jobs. If we shut down fracking, we shut down the domestic production. Jobs will be lost and US consumers will purchase more oversees oil.

          Sorry I have a masters in finance and economics, a couple million in a small hedge fund and I trade oil futures regularly. You clearly don’t know anything about how the oil market works.

  5. Next time there is a drought everyone in California will once again be blaming it on Climate Change and ignore the fact not a single new reservoir has been built in the state since 1978. During that same time California’s population went from 22M to 40M.

    No wonder you’re running out of water. Tell the ppl in LA to stop watering their lawns. Or push back on the Sierra Club and build a couple new hydroelectric damns. Boom you’re created a new source of RENEWABLE ENERGY. WHOAAA BROOOO

    As “educated” as ppl in California think they are, they really do have some moron ideas on how to solve problems.

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