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Declarer: Rinse the climate, but cramped forests also burn the fires of California

(Reuters) – With a tweet blaming California's wilderness for "brutal misguided forest management," President Donald Trump rejected the role of…

(Reuters) – With a tweet blaming California’s wilderness for “brutal misguided forest management,” President Donald Trump rejected the role of climate change in the worsening flames across the US West, generating a large spread in the Gold state.

A house destroyed by Camp Fire is seen in Paradise, California, USA, November 1

3, 2018. REUTERS / Terray Sylvester

Seen the surface as the latest shot of the Republican trumpet in a democratic state that has repeatedly pushed its management policy nevertheless left a headlight on California’s overgrown forests and their role in devastating fires.

The fact is that some do not agree that California’s increasingly dry and overgrown forests are efficiently large crates.

“California forests reach a focal point,” wrote the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state regulatory authority, in a report earlier this year.

The report outlined recommendations as increased prescribed firing and dedicates more money and jobs to forest management – actions already taken by the state.

Trump in the past has blamed environmental regulations for fires in California and promoted tree trenching to stop blazes. Last week, he returned to Twitter and said, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California, except that forest management is so bad.”

The president was fooled by firemen and California governor Jerry Brown, whose spokesman called Trump “uninformed.”

Trump’s critics said that nearly 60 percent of California’s 33 million hectares of forests are under federal control, and note the importance of climate change in causing more frequent and destructive fires. With a warming climate, rising temperatures and an increase in dry conditions in already dry areas lead to a higher likelihood of drought.

California does not stand alone. US forestry fire fighting has been a problem in many western states. Although the forest management had changed as an exercise in the 1970s, a massive fire in the Yellowstone National Park in 1988 led to burning fires where it was possible to roll back. In addition, different groups and researchers cite increased housing construction near forests that have resulted in the need to fight more blazes.

And not all forest fires are driven by forests. The current Woolsey fire, which burns near Malibu in Southern California, is run by the Coast Guardian.


Nevertheless, the Little Hoover Commission report found a poor management policy over the last century that forests were vulnerable to fires.

“The costs of long neglect and unauthorized forestry have become an unsustainable burden in California,” said the report.

Before Europeans settled in California, domestic firepower, including periodic low-intensity fires, helped renew forests and prevented them from getting too dense. However, the policy of aggressively fighting every fire has resulted in the loss of the natural dilution.

In addition, federal and state logging restrictions have caused forestry in California to reduce more than 70 percent between the late 1980s and 2012, according to an American Forest Service Report.

Trees in federal forests where forest drift is prohibited has high mortality from fires, and dying trees currently exceed new growth, according to a report by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

“When John Muir arrived and discovered Yosemite, we had about 40 trees to an acre. Today, we have hundreds of trees to an acre,” said Rich Gordon, president of the California Forestry Association, an industry group. “We’ll be better if we can get closer to our forests once a time.”

The CARB, which monitors state aggressive climate regulations, has estimated that 15 million hectares, or almost half of the state forests, were in need of restoration. If left to extinguish, forests can be a source of global greenhouse gas emissions by burning rather than a way to extract coal from the atmosphere, CARB says.

Between 2010 and 2017, drought and barking contributed to 129 million trees in the Sierra Nevada, which increases the risk of fires in the region, according to U.S. Forest Service.


Recently, California has pushed for changes in how forests are managed, including by performing more prescribed burns and advocating harvesting timber from their woods for wood products or energy production. The US Congress also acted this year to create a disaster fund to fight fires and stop deriving funds from much needed forest management.

Earlier this year, California’s Brown doubled the amount of land opened for the dilution of the vegetation, to 500,000 hectares from 250,000 hectares and streamlined landowner permission to clear trees.

Slideshow (6 Images)

A new team also awarded $ 200 million a year for forest health and fuel reduction projects, as well as a review of California’s loggeries from the 1970s.

More commercial harvesting can help pay for the heavy cost of cleaning dry fuel, Oregon State Professor John Bailey said, although it would only be part of a series of solutions.

“We can not just log out of this,” said Bailey.

Reporting of Nichola Groom; Editing Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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