Comments on Fire in the Forest

These are some of my thoughts related to the big fires in California.  They are keyed off the articles at the top.

Megafires More Frequent Because Of Climate Change And Forest Management

It is very distressing that President Trump has jumped in on one side of the wildfire issue and that many of his critics have felt it necessary to jump in on the other as a consequence, as if this was like a football game where you could cheer for one side.

Two or more things can be true at the same time. We do not have to choose sides on MOST things. This is not a game where somebody wins and another loses. Rather the only way for one side to win here is for them the other side to win too.

The linked article is good and has the right title. But even here, we have the competitive set up discussed. “California Gov. Jerry Brown …hit back …”

Many factors contribute to increase in the destructiveness of wildfires. There are three big ones – climate change, population growth in the wilderness-urban interface (WUI) and land management. Far from having to choose which one we need to address, we need to recognize that NONE of them can be addressed properly w/o addressing all three.

If you think climate change is the big issue, you better address land management, since it is the most effective way you can adapt to the coming changes. If you believe land management is the big issue, you better consider climate change, since decisions made today must be adapted for the situation decades from now in a changed environment. And no amount of good management can save houses from burning if we do not develop and build in “fire wise” ways. This is true no matter how the climate changes.

Trump is right. Jerry Brown is right. Lots of other people are right too, but nobody can understand the whole situation, and no solutions apply equally to every particular situation That is why we need to respect the myriad idea and let them create the synergy we need to do things that need to be done.

And we will never know the truth. We have to think, try, assess and think again in this never ending quest. And just stop with the fighting each other. We need all the ideas.

Fueling the Fire

Maybe this is working out okay. Trump’s tweet was unfortunate and I worried that it would set up land management for a fall. But the attention is bringing the complexity of land management to a wider audience. I do not believe it will long hold the public attention, but it may move the discussion.

The author of this article is one of the gurus of fire management. I read a couple of his books and treasure his insights.

There is no single answer to this problem, nor an answer that will be right for all time even for the same places. We need appreciate the nuance. Maybe Donald Trump, perhaps the lease nuanced of our presidents, has helped contribute to a better understanding.

There Are 200 California Inmates Fighting the Camp Fire. After Prison, They Likely Won’t Be Allowed to Become Firefighters

Part of my fire theme but also my deep belief in redemption. These guys are risking their life and health. They should feel the consequence of their crimes but at some time there should be redemption.

“… most of California’s inmate firefighters will not be able to work in the firefighting profession after they are released because of the state’s deliberately exclusionary licensing laws. Firefighters in California are required to be licensed as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), which requires taking classes and passing a few state-administered exams. No problem there, but state law allows licensing boards to block anyone with a criminal record from getting an EMT license.”

Give them a break. Wouldn’t it be better if guys getting out of prison could then be of service to their society while helping themselves.

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