Are Shooters To Blame for Western Wildfires?
No. The environmentalists are.
July 5, 2012 - 7:31 am
There are, however, fire risks associated with some kinds of ammunition in a specific range of conditions. Steel core ammunition — typically military surplus ammunition from overseas — can spark momentarily against rocks and minerals, and if that rock is in tinder-dry underbrush the possibility for a fire does exist. Likewise, incendiary ammunition — typically military tracer or civilian tracer training rounds — can spark fires in dry brush.
As fellow PJ Media contributor Robert Zubrin notes, however, the mismanagement of wildlife resources has done more to contribute to the conditions to create wildfires than any shooter has:
As I write these lines, vast wildfires are sweeping through my home state of Colorado and other areas of the American West. Last week, two of my employees had to leave work early to rush home to evacuate their families from imminent danger. Hundreds of houses have already been destroyed, and thousands of acres of trees incinerated, and unknown myriads of wild animals burned alive.
This disaster was predictable, and promises to get worse. Over the past decade, from British Columbia to New Mexico, the world’s most rapid deforestation has been underway in the North American West, with an average of nearly six million acres of forest lost per year — roughly double the three million acres per year rate in Brazil. The culprits here, however, have not been humans, but Western Pine Beetles, whose epidemic spread has turned over 60 million acres of formerly evergreen pine forests into dead red tinder, dry ammunition awaiting any spark to flare into catastrophe.
Yet while the global green movement has made a cause célèbre of the Amazon rain forest, they have done nothing to oppose those destroying our woods. Quite the contrary, they have been doing everything in their power to assist the wreckers. Indeed, over the past decade they have launched over a thousand lawsuits to block every attempt by the National Forest Service or others to take necessary counter measures.
“Green” activists have not only contributed to forest fires by creating the conditions for tree-killing beetles to thrive by fighting logging efforts, but also through refusing to let wildfires run their natural course and restricting prescribed burns that are designed to reduce the threat of uncontrolled fires by burning away tinder-dry underbrush.
If the media wants to place blame where blame belongs for western wildfires, the shooters that sparked just 5% of the blazes are the least of their worries. The so-called environmentalists that ultimately contribute to the tinder-dry conditions fueling the fires bear far more responsibility.