WATCH: California wildfires blamed on something else besides climate change

This year, California’s wildfires are being called the worst in state’s history. The governor and others claim climate change is the chief culprit. But Lisa Fletcher has been tracking the golden state’s fires for several years and finds the real problem might be something else.

Lisa Fletcher: There is no debate that this California fire season is historic in devastation, in size and in costs.

Over 3-million acres burned by the end of September, and that’s with the majority of the fires still burning out of control.

The fires have been frightening in their intensity. They have created unearthly scenes but California has had a fire problem for decades. In the past 30 years, nearly 20-million acres have been destroyed by wildfires.

In 2016 we went to Big Sur, site of the most expensive California wildfire to date.

Then we found one of the problems wasn’t global but very small, a bark beetle that was turning forests into dead zones.

Mike Lindberry: They’re estimating 60-million trees are dead standing right now all over the state.

Lisa: And what is the translation for a firefighter?

Lindberry: The translation for a firefighter is one, faster moving more deadly fires and the fact even while they’re fighting these fires there’s the danger of the trees dropping on them at any point.

Lisa: And you already had one firefighter killed with a tree dropping on them.

Lindberry: There was a firefighter killed last week from a tree dropping on him, that’s correct.

Lisa: Forest fires produce a double jeopardy, after crews extinguish the flames the barren landscape creates a threat for mudslides and poisoning local water.

Robert Bonnie: We don’t have the resources we need to invest in reforestation and we have a substantial backlog. I think it might be as much as 5 million acres of areas where we’d like to plant trees post fire and we essentially can’t.

Lisa: We spoke with Robert Bonnie, who was then head of the U.S. forest service. It’s the agency in charge of fighting fires but also preventing them. Bonnie told us year after year wildfires are burning through more budget dollars.

Robert Bonnie: It was close to $3 billion last year, out of an agency budget that’s about $5 billion.

Lisa: According to FEMA, every dollar put toward prevention equals four dollars in disaster cost savings for taxpayers. It’s one of the reasons Bonnie has spent years urging congress to treat fires like natural disasters. Doing so would shift the cost from the forest service to FEMA, adding firefighting to emergency funding used for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

In 2018, congress was set to vote on a disaster-aid bill that would do that, lawmakers delayed that vote to avoid a government shutdown.

Lisa: And here we are in 2020, California’s fire apocalypse brought political opposites together President Trump and California Governor Gavin Newsom, who do not agree on one thing.

Newsom: “Please respect, and I know you do, the difference of opinion out here as it relates to this fundamental issue, on the issue of climate change.”

Lisa: But what California forest experts have been telling us for years came to the table.

President Trump: So they were largely dead, or the area was largely dead in terms of the trees?

Mr. Porter: They die from the beetle kill, and now they’re being burned up by the fires.

Lisa: And the issue of land management, stopping fires before they happen finally got the federal funding to bring changes that may leave an impact far beyond this fire season.

Newsom: “Looking past almost a thousand plus years that we have not done justice on our forest management, your administration just entered into its first of a kind commitment over the next 20 years to double our vegetation management.”

LISA: California received even more ‘fire management assistance grants’ through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund. This means California will be reimbursed up to 75-percent for their fire suppression and forest management costs.

Sharyl: Will this new money make a difference in future California fires?

Lisa: Many firefighters on the ground say it should.

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4 thoughts on “WATCH: California wildfires blamed on something else besides climate change”

  1. So… not chemtrails or directed energy weapons?

    Ok, the beetle/dead tree hypothesis needs exploring. If the seventh domino falls we need to look behind just the sixth domino to understand it. In other words, how does a sudden ecological imbalance just occur in ancient forests? Otherwise we will get the typical linear response in a beetle eradication campaign, and fighting imbalance with further imbalance seldom goes well. And of course, natural cycles of forest fires and renewal, who is to say the beetle isn’t an essential component of that natural harmony?

    Still the question of arson remains, and how come the fires stop at the borders. Some say different forest management policies in Canada. Ok, all this stuff needs looking at as a tapestry not as a bunch of threads.

  2. Yes…what has become of the suspected arsonists that were taken in? And what about accountability & oversight on using this money appropriately? Too much government “aid” and money in general is given out without tracking where it actually goes.

  3. I wish the article had revealed more research about the beetle-kill devastation of the forests and what is being done to address it. It appears that nothing has been done. For 40 years, vast expanses of front- range Colorado forests have been killed by beetle infestation.. Thousands and thousands of acres of standing dead trees and rotting timber are another major disaster-in-waiting.

  4. I’m going to go out on a limb here and point out ALL the THREATS of “WE’RE GOING TO BURN IT ALL DOWN” coming from BLM/Antifa rioters over the past 5 months might provide a clue as to what is ACTUALLY happening. Everywhere they go (with their Molotov Cocktails) they have scorched the earth. QUIT IGNORING THE OBVIOUS. I live in Reno and the amount of smoke billowing in and lingering for 2 months now, blocking the Sun and choking us is horrific. I can’t imagine living in CA, WA, OR, ID right now. This IS NOT climate change, beetles etc. This is ARSON. WAKE UP AMERICA.

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