January 3, 2018


California Governor Jerry Brown seized the opportunity last month to blame Climate Change for the “new normal” of rampant wildfires. With neighborhoods burning down and the fire inching closer to homes, Government and Science declared that a bogeyman of myopic mass humanity was at fault.

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Fire experts have long encouraged “prescribed burning” to minimize vegetation growth and, in the long run, reduce smoke pollution otherwise caused by out-of-control wildfires. Not surprisingly, however, environmental policies treat prescribed burn smoke as an “avoidable nuisance” subject to heavy regulation. The Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and other regulations impose onerous limits on our ability to prevent massive wildfires.

Even as we celebrate our valiant firemen, it is also legitimate to question whether our firefighting resources are effectively coordinated and whether triage decisions are made appropriately. Over the last month, a few friends sheepishly whispered in private, wondering why insufficient air resources were deployed over some fires while others received repeated rounds of tankers. They asked why the Skirball Fire (adjacent to swanky Bel-Air) somehow was quelled immediately in difficult terrain while the Thomas Fire (begun in rustic Ojai) became unstoppable in all directions. With Climate Change as the predetermined culprit, the media and an intimidated public pursue none of these questions.

Read the whole thing. In 2011, Victor Davis Hanson warned of “The Bloomberg Syndrome:” “Quite simply, the next time your elected local or state official holds a press conference about global warming, the Middle East, or the national political climate, expect to experience poor county law enforcement, bad municipal services, or regional insolvency.”

When it comes to California, embrace the healing power of “and.”

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