Should DHS be investigating California wildfires?

As large sections of California continue to burn, the blame game is in full swing. Some cite climate change, while others prefer to point the finger at utility company PG&E. (As it turns out, it’s much harder to sue climate change for billions of dollars.) But while some of these fires are likely attributable to aging power lines, accidents or acts of God, is it possible that others are acts of terrorism?

That’s a question that’s been raised at the Free Beacon this week. And it’s not as crazy as it might sound. ISIS may have lost its caliphate, but they are still encouraging their followers in both America and Europe to get out there and set some fires.

A media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group’s radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.

At least four propaganda posters that have appeared on the pro-ISIS Quraysh media outlet have urged followers to “ignite fires” as part of an ongoing jihad against America and its allies.

The terror group has released a series of posters starting in April of this year and continuing up until this week. They all carry a similar message. “Ignite fires in the forests of America, France, Britain, and Germany, for they are painful to them.”

So is it possible that the group’s followers in the United States have been heeding these instructions and torching the red flag areas of California? It’s not as if such a plan would require much technology or manpower. Just get out to an isolated area that’s unlikely to be under video surveillance and light a few bits of kindling on a windy day.

And if that’s the case, should the federal government be getting in on the act? The state can hopefully deal with issues involving aging power lines being knocked down by trees in high winds or even the occasional careless camper. But if we have Jihadis out there intentionally torching the landscape, we may need to call in some resources with more expertise in dealing with Islamic extremists. And it’s not as if California hasn’t had plenty of those lurking about for the past few decades.

This line of attack by ISIS is probably rather instructive in terms of our effectiveness in dealing with the group over the past few years. We knew that defeating them in Syria and Iraq wouldn’t end the group entirely, but we would at least force them back into the shadows. At one point, they were close to achieving their dream of controlling a vast caliphate and marshaling their armies for a war to bring on the end of the world. And now they’ve been reduced to… arson?

And yet, arson is a potent weapon under these conditions. Let’s hope that somebody at DHS is on top of this potential issue.