Forest Service chief to Congress: Climate change is responsible for these wildfires, you know

posted at 8:41 pm on June 5, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Oh, good grief. At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, U.S. Forest Service chief Thomas Tidwell informed Congress that the budget cuts being handed down via the sequester are coming at an especially opportune time because 2013 is going to be a horrible season of ever more explosive wildfires. The culprit behind these vicious fires, you might ask? Well, according to Mr. Tidwell:

America’s wildfire season lasts two months longer than it did 40 years ago and burns up twice as much land as it did in those earlier days because of the hotter, drier conditions produced by climate change, the country’s forest service chief told Congress on Tuesday.

“Hotter, drier, a longer fire season, and lot more homes that we have to deal with,” Tidwell told the Guardian following his appearance. “We are going to continue to have large wildfires.” …

Climate change was a key driver of those bigger, more explosive fires. Earlier snow-melt, higher temperatures and drought created optimum fire conditions. …

“This is a product of having a longer fire season, and having hotter, drier conditions so that the fuels dry out faster. So when we get a start that escapes initial attack, these fires become explosive in that they become so large so fast that it really limits our ability to do anything.” …

Huh. It’s interesting that Mr. Tidwell’s testimony focused on climate change as the main arbiter of the growing costs and damages wreaked by forest fires across the United States every passing summer, instead of the decades of egregiously counterproductive federal policy that directly created the dry, overcrowded, veritable tinderboxes scattered across the American landscape just waiting to blow.

The federal government, via the Department of Interior, the Department of Agriculture, et al, has been meticulously imposing restrictive land-use policies across the country for years — rules of which environmentalists are particularly fond, since they can often effectively ban most productive human activity from certain areas in the ostensible effort to protect some threatened species or other. This prevents a lot of the logging and grazing activities that would otherwise thin out forests; American forests’ tree density has been on the rise, which in turn puts a strain on the water supply in a given region.

Water depletion from afforestation — the establishment of trees or tree stands where none previously were — is the unintended consequence of a wildly popular federal policy. For millenniums, fires set by lightning or Native Americans limited forest stocks to roughly a few dozen trees per acre. All that changed after the nationally terrifying Big Blowup wildfires of 1910, which led the United States to in effect declare war on wildfire. The government’s wartime-like tactics included security watchtowers, propaganda, aerial bombing and color-coded threat alerts. Uncle Sam trained elite Hotshot and Smokejumper crews to snuff out enemy flames. Congress annually funded the war effort with an emergency blank check, now $2.5 billion.

Decades of heroic victories against fire led to gradual defeat in the larger war. Fuel builds up, and when it ignites, the fires burn hotter, faster and more destructively. More new trees compete for less sunlight, thinner soil nutrients and scarcer water resources. Native wildlife suffers. Insects and diseases spread faster. Public subsidies protect private properties at the wildland-urban interface. …

First, the past century of fire suppression has resulted in roughly 112 to 172 more trees per acre in high-elevation forests of the West. That’s a fivefold increase from the pre-settlement era.

While environmentalist groups continue to clamor for more big government as the supposed solution to environmental problems, the federal government has managed to orchestrate a century of awful policy that has turned America’s public lands into increasingly dry fuel — and yet bureaucrats so often manage to overlook that fact when they are hurrying to pin our heightened fire-risk problems entirely on the politically convenient excuse of climate change.


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I thought 9 out of 10 wildfires could be prevented..
I heard that from a Bear..

Electrongod on June 5, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Damn! That very same Bear told me that only I could prevent them!

Hill60 on June 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Bureaucracy is the only type of organization where failure is rewarded with more money and power.

Disband the U.S. Forest Service. The forests will be OK. The bureaucrats won’t.

CrazyGene on June 5, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Global Climate Change ate my homework.

18-1 on June 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Bullsh*t. It’s because environmentalist policies aren’t letting us thin out the forests. Thicker forests = more fuel = bigger fires.

jawkneemusic on June 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Smokey the Bear said “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
Does that mean wildfires are politically correct forest fires caused by global warming?

TX-eye on June 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM

The gov’t forest program is run by politcos not foresters but don’t worry because they can run healthcare…..NOT. Time to stop the gov.

tim c on June 5, 2013 at 8:56 PM

New take on the Tragedy of the Commons.

Count to 10 on June 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM

… mmmm, smoked bear …

M240H on June 5, 2013 at 8:59 PM

the decades of egregiously counterproductive federal policy that directly created the dry, overcrowded, veritable tinderboxes scattered across the American landscape just waiting to blow.

Living where I do, fires are a major concern. Grassfires.
However, I know ranch friends down in the Black Hills as well as in E. MT where there are actually trees & I happen to know that the huge fires that occurred in those places were one of 2 things:
1. Bad govt management
2. ‘Controlled’ burns that got out of hand.
#2 is near & dear. My bro in law’s place was almost burned up in the Kraft Springs fire years back btwn Ekalaka MT & Camp Crook SD.
The USFS is full of worthless #*^*@#%($%^($%&, of the likes which I cannot say in such polite company.
Oh, & recently, one of those controlled burns near where I live just south of us in SD burned out a handful of ranches.
One ranch had to sell their cows bcs this burn the area residents BEGGED the FS not to conduct burned up all the little pasture they had plus their hay stores.
That areas been a dry tinderbox for several years due to the drought.
These people in the agencies hate us ranchers. Not all of them. But they have this attitude that we have no right to be here & they can do whatever the frack they want & they could care less whether our livelihoods are destroyed.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Nope, Darrell Issa is setting them.

forest on June 5, 2013 at 9:01 PM

The Deadwood fire years ago is also a result of poor forest service management.
I believe that was one of the fires that prompted Bush to take things in a different direction.
You go to Deadwood & you can see where it almost burned up the entire town.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:02 PM

Forget the bear. What are we gonna do about the crying indian?

HotAirian on June 5, 2013 at 9:03 PM

enough water + poor management = flood, drought cycles

Axe on June 5, 2013 at 9:03 PM

Bullsh*t. It’s because environmentalist policies aren’t letting us thin out the forests. Thicker forests = more fuel = bigger fires.

jawkneemusic on June 5, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Yup. Dad was a logger in his youth, he used to look at state parks and forests and say, “That should be thinned.”

Fallon on June 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Does that include the ‘controlled’ fires the Forest Service set in the latter 1990′s?

The ones that burned the houses of ‘legacy’ homesteaders that the parks were built around?

And that the Forest Service refused to permit to be re-built?

That Forest Service???

Yeah… I thought so.

CPT. Charles on June 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Nonsense.

The wildfires are caused by Moochelle eating taxpayer lobsters in one gulp tail first lately instead of head first, as usual practice.

viking01 on June 5, 2013 at 9:08 PM

IN fact,Bush changed things somehow bcs after that the USFS started wholesale cutting down trees & piling bruch in the Black Hills.
Now the hills forests are being decimated by beetles.
I recommend this book about the Black Hills & the Custer expedition in 1874.

This book shows expedition photos side by side with photos taken from the same vantage point in recent years.
The sparse tree cover is immediately noticeable in 1874 versus now.
We have let more trees grow not just there, but in places like ID, CO, MT etc. that used to be controlled by natural fires.
All suppressed.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:08 PM

CPT. Charles on June 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Oooops.

Hill60 on June 5, 2013 at 9:10 PM

They forgot the ones that they and the NPS set in unsuitable conditions that destroyed thousands of homes and burnt up most of a national park. How convenient.

Blake on June 5, 2013 at 9:11 PM

I went to the DC zoo in 1976, mainly to see Smokey the Bear. That stupid bear died just before I got there and they hadn’t found a replacement cub, yet. So, I saw an empty bear cage. My childhood dreams were dashed… Besides that, the park service was building the scaffolding for Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and the two new pandas from China wouldn’t mate. What a trip…

Fallon on June 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM

And let’s not forget those STERILIZING forest fires that occurred in Yellowstone, what, back in the 80′s?
All due to poor park management.
They also poorly manage the available grazing in the park.
If I grazed my pastures like that I’d go out of business.
But instead, the Govt lets it get overstocked with elk & buffalo & don’t give a crap about them flowing over into private ranches & infecting domestic herds with Brucellosis.
All of these Fed agencies are grossly incompetent & NEED to GO.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Didn’t bat face remove funding for forest fire fighting? Grounded some of the planes they use?

tom daschle concerned on June 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Fallon on June 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM

You made me laugh.
Thanks!

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

Arson enviro’s burns everyone. crime dog McGruff?

What happened to 9 out of 10 forest fires being caused by humans?
Oh..so Smokey meant non global warming loons.
Shite-I was raised wrong!

Good post Erika. Crap like this endlessly irritates me.

bazil9 on June 5, 2013 at 9:14 PM

You made me laugh.
Thanks!

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

:)

Nice to know some good has come from my pain, lol.

Fallon on June 5, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Didn’t bat face remove funding for forest fire fighting? Grounded some of the planes they use?

tom daschle concerned on June 5, 2013 at 9:13 PM

That reminds me of that KRaft Springs fire I mentioned above.
It was a USFS employee who started the fire accidently. Was burning some love letters.
The USFS then let it go & told locals they were not allowed to fire fight.
Nobody listened to them & people were out with every piece of digging equipment they could find.
My husband was out there with the horse I now ride in his older age to get cows to safety.
It was a nightmare.
And right at the very end of things, the govt comes in with their slurry planes.
Meanwhile, private property was destroyed.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:16 PM

I wish Bmore was here- Bmore!
He could break this down real good for ya.
The dung beetle as well.

bazil9 on June 5, 2013 at 9:17 PM

You mean the forest fires that the illegal aliens start?

Free Indeed on June 5, 2013 at 9:17 PM

http://www.westrangereclamation.com/

These guys are doing good work. The owner is a super good guy, and their practices are healthy. They are working feverishly to create firebreaks, and log out the beetle damaged trees.

tom daschle concerned on June 5, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Talk about forest fires and fuming. Just saw Sean Smith’s mother on Hannity and learned that State department sent her a letter advising her that because she was not “immediate family”, her trip costs to go to a medal ceremony for her son would not be covered by State.

Hannity picked up the tab on her behalf.

What a cluster….

can_con on June 5, 2013 at 9:21 PM

This is your USFS at work.

The humidity that day was extremely low. The temp was almost 80 that day. I remember it bcs I kept thinking I hope no one starts a fire today.
And the wind was blowing pretty good.
These conditions had been forecast for a WEEK.
And yet, these worthless pieces of excrement thought it was good to go ahead, despite the calls from desperate residents not to do so.

The guy came on the radio in Lemmon 1400 am to tell what happened.
I listened that day. There is no way he didn’t know what a bad idea it was to give the go ahead for that burn.
These agencies should not exist at the federal level.
LEt the states take care of their own resources.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:21 PM

I went to the DC zoo in 1976, mainly to see Smokey the Bear. That stupid bear died just before I got there and they hadn’t found a replacement cub, yet. So, I saw an empty bear cage. My childhood dreams were dashed… Besides that, the park service was building the scaffolding for Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and the two new pandas from China wouldn’t mate. What a trip…

Fallon on June 5, 2013 at 9:12 PM

It’s a shame Ted Kennedy wasn’t available to wear a bear suit. As long as they kept him well greased with Chivas he probably never would have noticed… an our yoots could have seen him in a cage where he belonged for Mary Jo.

viking01 on June 5, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Lying is a means to an end. They don’t care.

njrob on June 5, 2013 at 9:28 PM

I burned my kid’s toast this morning because the toaster over seemed to be running a bit hot.

You guessed it, my toaster causes global warming.

Bishop on June 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Controlled burns, for the most part, (sorry CPT Chas.) are a good thing. Burned forests bring new and abundant plant life, like never imagined.

Unfortunately for much of the west, Californians moved in. They built adjacent to wilderness, and then demanded services such as public utilities – at taxpayer expense. They built on undeveloped roads, and then demand services such as paved egress on the taxpayer dime. They built impractical homes and did not create defensible space and then demanded emergency services.
I am all for private property wherever one chooses. Just make damn sure you can take care of yourself.

egmont on June 5, 2013 at 9:32 PM

I know it’s not PC, but honestly… can’t we bring back the word retard?

iceman1960 on June 5, 2013 at 9:34 PM

I am all for private property wherever one chooses. Just make damn sure you can take care of yourself.

egmont on June 5, 2013 at 9:32 PM

While I agree with you, many of those living in places like CA (& see the poor Australians), were prohibited under penalty of law to remove combustible brush.
Making any fires nigh impossible to put out.

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Nuke the effin whales!

dmann on June 5, 2013 at 9:55 PM

Speaking of fires, fire this dumb butt. The Forest Service is the arsonist, not NOAA. The Forest Service wont let land owners clear the underbrush, dumb butts. Another example of the outstanding intelligence of every member of the obama administration.

Old Country Boy on June 5, 2013 at 9:56 PM

I burned my kid’s toast this morning because the toaster over seemed to be running a bit hot.

You guessed it, my toaster causes global warming.

Bishop on June 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

You were just being a bad dad.

RickB on June 5, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Badger40 on June 5, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Maybe one of the last good things CO did before going full leftard was to require defensible space.

egmont on June 5, 2013 at 10:12 PM

There are more trees in the United States today than at any time in history. Increased fire reports are mostly due to improved spotting techniques, not due to more fires.

munseym on June 5, 2013 at 10:18 PM

… mmmm, smoked bear …

M240H on June 5, 2013 at 8:59 PM

I loves me some Grizzly Bear roast.

Solaratov on June 5, 2013 at 10:40 PM

Yes, we all know by now that everything bad is caused by Global izone199@Charter.nett me help you. The site I’ve linked below claims to have the complete list of bad things that have allegedly been caused by Global Warming.

http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

For example:

Did you know that Global Warming killed the Loch Ness Monster? (sad hun? – no word on Godzilla)

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/02/13/veteran-loch-ness-monster-hunter-gives-up-86908-20317853/

How about the poor polar bears who’s penis sizes are shrinking because of Global Warming (pollution). I wonder how many researchers they lost getting those measurements.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14485634/

Global Warming is said to be hurting the brothel industry.

http://www.metro.co.uk/weird/39945-global-warming-now-it-hits-brothels

But on a serious note, this shows how utterly fraudulent and out of control the Global Warming farrago has always been. The reason for all of this nonsense is because if researchers could somehow link their research to Global Warming — they got money. The Warmist have bought all the propaganda with our taxpayer dollars. And that’s why for a couple of decades every other news story you read had something to do with Global Warming and the new horror it caused.

Most people don’t realize this scam has been limping along for more than 30 years already.

And that’s what’s truly sad — such a waste of taxpayer money to prop-up this globalist hoax. But they are not after only our money, they want to destroy our freedoms too.

Axion on June 5, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Fires caused by gay boy scouts

faraway on June 5, 2013 at 11:06 PM

Anyone who really studies the wild fires and their cause, knows the environmentalists are more responsible for them than anything related to climate. If we had proper forest management, the temperature could go up 5 degrees and we’d have less damage than we do now. More trees suck up more water, leaving less for each tree. More trees suck up more water leaving less to go into the ground, as a whole, making everything drier. This is a fact, this is nature, this is caused by environmentalists not allowing dead trees to be removed and forest to be thinned. They are the cause and their policies will not allow a solution.

bflat879 on June 5, 2013 at 11:19 PM

AGW, ain’t nothin’ it can’t do!

GarandFan on June 5, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Wow, sequester and global warming packed into one whine, Obama is so dang lucky in his public servants. How does he find all these stupid people?

Cindy Munford on June 6, 2013 at 12:26 AM

Actual acreage burned so far this year is running far behind the average. Also, there has been no warming in the US since 1998.

As of this date the 10 year average figures:

Fires: 31,106
Acres: 1,486,358

As of this date in 2013:

Fires: 18,422
Acres: 367,839

We are running well below average in both acreage and number of fires. This report is trying to use news reports to influence your perceptions that there are a lot of fires burning when there isn’t. Progressive politics works best in a data-free environment.

Reference: http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

crosspatch on June 6, 2013 at 12:36 AM

Also, 40 years ago was 1973. That was during the coldest period since the Little Ice Age when we thought we were headed into another one.

crosspatch on June 6, 2013 at 12:38 AM

Two questions before we proceed:
1) cite the definitative “peer-reviewed” study that incontrovertibly links man with current climate change ?
2) cite one example where “man” was able to change the weather or the climate ?

Before we blow trillions of dollars on “pie in the sky”, it would be nice to know that there is a chance of success to correct a real problem.

J_Crater on June 6, 2013 at 1:25 AM

Hey Badger40, where are you at? I am from Rapid City currently living in Phoenix.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 6, 2013 at 1:34 AM

The culprit is “Big Government”, “EPA”, and greenie-weenies who make it impossible for anybody to clear out dead and diseased trees, excessive undergrowth, and any other sane anti-fire strategy such as clearing off areas at safe times with controlled burns.

Government is clearly the enemy of the people when it is this big.

{^_^}

herself on June 6, 2013 at 6:26 AM

The reason for the increased fires from 40 years ago stems from changes in land management policy that has left more on the ground to burn.

Sekhmet on June 6, 2013 at 8:13 AM

He should be fired the moment we have a sane President.

astonerii on June 6, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Everyone knows not to put sequesters near trees, especially in the dry season.

Akzed on June 6, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Why no talk from the enviro-progressives about all the supremely evil Carbon that is released into the air from fires that result from their insane forest management theories?

Why is all the CO2 from these fires not being trumpeted like the little wisp that comes out of my SUV? Why don’t they want to look at easy solutions that will prevent these fires?

slickwillie2001 on June 6, 2013 at 9:25 AM

I’m so sick of these idiots. Years ago when they used to allow logging, I worked in the forest during the summers planting and thinning trees as part of reforestation due to the big empty spaces left by logging. That was over 20 years ago and I often drive by the plots that were planted and the trees are very big now and look so natural you would never know they had been planted but for the signs stating the year in which the trees were planted. It was good money and the forests look beautiful where it has been done whereas before the logging, they were all dried out and dying and didn’t add to the beauty of nature in any way.

Man is a pretty damn good steward of the environment when people with sense are running the country. Unfortunately that was back in the good ole days of Reagan.

mr.idaho on June 6, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Wait for it, this guy will be promoted in the next round. That seems to be the regime’s reward for doing it’s bidding these days.

Kissmygrits on June 6, 2013 at 10:05 AM

You guessed it, my toaster causes global warming.

Bishop on June 5, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Did it put out a lot of airborne carbon?

Increased fire reports are mostly due to improved spotting techniques, not due to more fires.

munseym on June 5, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Not just “spotting techniques”, but also the fact that so many more homes are in the “wilderness”. It increases the number of spotters tremendously.

GWB on June 6, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Wildfires are the new N word.

Wagthatdog on June 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Wildfires are the new N word.

Wagthatdog on June 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM

The left has 100,000 words in the English language to call slurs about black people.

Axeman on June 6, 2013 at 2:07 PM

America’s wildfire season lasts two months longer than it did 40 years ago

Yes and 40 years ago, the mid 1970s, was the end of four decades of known and acknowledged global cooling! Go back to the 1930s and the wildfire season was the same as today.

That’s also why the global warmers invariably start their graph trends showing warming in the mid 1970s. If you want to “prove” recent global warming compare today’s temps to the coolest recent time period that you can find, the middle 1970s.

RJL on June 6, 2013 at 4:49 PM