Mismanaged Forests Burn, Newsom Blames “Climate Deniers”

What we quaintly refer to as “super fires” have incinerated nearly 5,000 square miles of California’s forests so far this year. In response, Governor Newsom has declared he has “no more patience for climate deniers.” But it isn’t climate change that caused these superfires. It was negligent forestry.

When it comes to facts that matter on the issue of our burning forests, perhaps Newsom is the one who is in denial. Because when Newsom denounces “climate deniers,” he denies the following far more pertinent facts about wildfires and climate:

  • The timber industry in California has been cut to a small fraction of what it was in 1990 in terms of employment and board feet of timber harvested. In 1990, 6.0 billion board feet were harvested from California’s forests, today the harvest rarely exceeds 1.5 billion board feet.
  • Dense, overgrown forests result in unhealthy trees, because the increased number of trees are competing for the same amount of sunlight, water and soil nutrients. This is the reason so many of them cannot resist disease and infestations, not climate change.
  • Year after year, millions of acre feet of snow and rain fall on these dense tree canopies and either evaporate immediately, or are sucked up by the overgrown, water stressed biomass as soon as they hit the ground. Far less water makes it into the aquifers and rivers as a result.
  • The overgrown forests are not only packing up to ten times more fuel than what is historically normal, but because these trees aren’t adapted to being packed so close together, half of them are dead or dying, which means they are tinder dry.

Any honest mainstream journalist, if there are any left, needs to ask Governor Newsom one simple question:

“Under which conditions would be a lightning strike be more likely to cause a catastrophic fire: on a grove of stressed and dying trees, dried out and packed 200 per acre, on a 75 degree day, or on a grove of healthy trees, moist and dispersed 20 per acre on an 85 degree day?”

A child can answer this question, but perhaps Gavin Newsom isn’t interested in the truth.

How California’s Forests Turned Into Tinderboxes

For over 20 million years, forests existed in California at a much lower density than they are today. These forests were healthy and abundant with wildlife, and they stayed healthy through climate cycles that included droughts and so-called mega-droughts that lasted a century or more.

That all changed starting around 1850 when American settlers began logging operations that left vast clear cut areas. The second growth forests that filled these clear cut areas had a higher tree density, and this unnatural response to the original clear cuts is where the problems began.

Natural fires, usually caused by lightning strikes, probably would have burned through 2nd and 3rd growth forests, with the hardier trees surviving to restore the original ecosystems, but over the past several decades fire suppression tactics had become highly effective and were aggressively practiced. Fire ceased to be a significant source of natural thinning. Forestry officials and private landowners tried to do controlled burns, but ran into too much bureaucracy to ever do it at anywhere near the necessary scale.

The problems of overstocked forests magnified in the 1990s when logging operations throughout the Western United States came under attack from environmentalists. While logging practices needed to evolve, cutting logging activity to a fraction of what it had been for over a century caused additional density. For decades now, annual growth has far exceeded harvests.

Unhealthy, unnaturally dense forests. Far fewer smaller, natural forest fires. Almost no logging activity. It doesn’t take a genius to know what comes next.

Forestry experts including some environmentalists have been warning politicians about the fire hazards in the forests, urgently, for well over 20 years. But effective forest thinning has been prevented by environmentalist backed over-regulation.

If Gov. Newsom is in “denial” about any of this, he might explain: Why is it, if we knew this was an urgent problem, that California’s forests are still twice as dense, or more, than they were for the last 20 million years?

“Climate Change” Policies Are Misanthropic and Futile

Whenever there’s a wildfire, Newsom and all the others in denial over their epic policy failures, come shouting “climate change.” They have the audacity to tell us to turn our thermostats up to 78 degrees and refrain from using electric appliances, and they claim these fires are evidence of why this is necessary. They embark on a “renewables mandate” that jacks utility prices up to the highest in the nation in exchange for unreliable power.

More than anything else, what Newsom and all the rest of these politicians who want California to set a “climate example” to the world are in denial of is their own misanthropy. They know perfectly well that California only emits one percent of the world’s CO2. They know as well that China and India are not about to stop using fossil fuel to grow their economies. They know that fossil fuel accounts for 85 percent of global energy production, with hydroelectric and nuclear power accounting for another 11 percent. All renewables account for only four percent of global energy production. Four percent.

Although one often wonders, Newsom is smart enough to figure out, based on readily available and indisputable data, that if everyone in the world, per capita, used half as much energy as Americans do, global energy production would have to double. And it will. And for the next 20-30 years, fossil fuel is going to account for a large portion of that.

Someday, probably within the lifetime of most people alive today, there will be a series of breakthroughs in energy technology. Fusion power. Satellite solar power stations. Direct synthesis of atmospheric CO2 into liquid fuel. Who knows? But until that time, the only reason to impoverish the lives of ordinary Californians in the name of the “climate crisis” is so rich and powerful people like Gavin Newsom can get even richer and even more powerful.

Once this horrific fire season comes to an end, there is just one thing Gavin Newsom should be doing as follow up. He needs to figure out how California’s forests are going to be rapidly thinned from, using the Sierra Nevada as an example, 200 or more trees per acre, down to the historical norm of 40 trees or less per acre. No forest management solutions are perfect. But in search of perfection, we engineered a cataclysm. Have we learned? Or will we just watch the rest of our forests burn up, and blame it on climate change?

This article originally appeared in the California Globe.


  1. Even if the dubious claims about the climate change made by Newsom and Crowfoot were true – they should have ALREADY had the courage of their convictions implemented to mitigate the disasters we see this year.
    Doing nothing other than the additions of a few firefighters and purchase of apparatus to tackle the result of mismanagement is not the way to go. This is prima facie evidence why Newsom should be recalled as Governor.

  2. Although Facebook so called ” Fact Checkers ” claim that this is a fraudulent claim and that Newscumb and his predecessors did nothing wrong as all this is due to ” climate change or Global Warming ” I am going to post it there anyway. Maybe a few people will get a chance to see the truth before the Liberals take it down pretending that Fact is Fiction.
    From the Sword of —

  3. Newsom is a disgrace…Why don’t you just tell the truth Gavin, AFTER I PAID THE EMPLOYEE PENSION SYSTEM OFF THERE WAS NO MONEY FOR ANYTHING ELSE..Just tell the truth Newsom, I don’t want to piss off the UNIONS WHO KEEP DEMOCRAPS IN POWER…Just tell the truth Newsom…!!

  4. The forest fires are the result of systemic mismanagement by the Democratic establishment–often caused by trying to achieve other aims through their faulty decisions–like trying to save some owl–which it turns out prefers to hunt among healthy trees; or trying to help the firefighters union retain their huge salaries. When we were logging and replanting the forests, jobs were created, dead trees were removed, insect infestations were decreased, and roads into the forest, which could be used by firefighting groundcrews were kept in usable condition. All policy decisions have unintended consequences, and the consequences now amount to a disaster–not caused by climate change, but by policy change–mostly in response to demands from The Sierra Club–of which my family was once a member. Everyone wants to blame PGE–and they are partly to blame–but The Sierra Club–a vast international bureaucracy–is at least 50% to blame. They should be sued by the insurer’s who have had to pay out trillions in claims for burned homes, cars, and possessions. Now many people cannot even purchase fire insurance.
    The President is not a “climate denier” or a “science denier” he is a realist. The climate has been changing for centuries–but not because of man. The Farm Bureau now recommends control burns and using cattle to graze grasses and keep down the fuel load. What a concept!–Just like we used to do before the environmentalists decided that cattle released too many “emissions” and worked to have them removed from federal lands.

  5. The progressive left never accepts the error of their making, it is always somebody or something other then them that is the cause. Newsom is deflecting his guilt onto those who follow the facts, be they climate change of forest miss management. And, in this case, with mega fires swallowing up resources, both state and Federal now, Newsom in typical progressive left style blames those who oppose his ideas and opinions. And they are only ideas and opinions neither being founded on facts!

  6. To further exasperate the situation, we are building more and more wooden houses into the unmanaged forest, adding more “fuel” to help the intensity and damage from that next fire.

  7. Dense forests and global warming may explain the intensity of the fires BUT NOT the increased frequency. Most fires are man-made and some are the result of PYROTERRORISM. Look that up on Google. The U.S. Forest Service even had a Conference on Pyroterrorism. Plans exist on the internet for making remote-controlled incendiary devices.These plans are not in English. When conditions are right, these terrorists are out in the forest areas.Watch out for any suspicious activity.

  8. Monadnock Man says

    The actions of today are a direct result of the passage of so many laws, rules, regulations, et al. due to one paradigm – failure of vetting to eliminating the issues of the unintended consequences before enactment.
    CA is noted for abusiving this paradigm – if it sounds good, if it feels good, and if it incorporates the dems favorite freebies for zero consequences, whether a citizen or not, then passage is guaranteed to cost billions with zero oversight and that is precisely why all blue states, counties, and cities are so screwed up.

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