Climate change is fueling wildfires, warns National Climate Assessment


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/27/climate-change-causes-wildfire.html


#2

Insert ‘yeah, no shit’ gif here ______.


#3

The just-released U.S. National Climate Assessment, which Donald Trump’s own administration released, but which the president seems to believe is a work of fiction.

“Nero? Total low energy loser. He only fiddled while just one city burned. #MAGA #7degreesorbust


#4

this is kind of the topic i posted last friday.


#5

But it’s SNOWING* in some other parts of the country! That’s proof thay climate change is a myth!

*Please pay no attention to the part of the water cycle which depends on heat to drive the evaporation needed to create the clouds said snow falls from.


#6

Does that pair of graphs bug anyone else? WTF is it trying to show? What relevant piece(s) of information were stripped in the cut and paste process?


#7

It’s not a graph without scaled axes and labelled variables.

It’s just a picture.


#8


#9

Only a monkey’s ass can’t see climate change is the reason for these wildfires.


#10

Dude, I want that.

Maybe not for $1,600 though.


#11

8 years federal forest mismanagement Obama/Hilary to blame. Sad.


#12

#13

well…


#14


#15

image


#16

It’s actually a double whammy.

Surely anthropogenic climate change is one factor exacerbating the problem. But we are also paying for a very long period of ruthless wildfire suppression. Particularly after the Big Burn of 1910, which burnt an area a little larger than Connecticut in Idaho, Montana, Washington and British Columbia, the Forest Service enacted a policy of absolutism - every fire is to be extinguished, promptly.

If you compare, say, Ansel Adams’s photos with modern pictures of unburnt woods in the same places, you’ll see a dramatic difference. The forests in Adams’s time were patchy, with grass- and shrublands interspersed. Closer up, there were more mature trees, more widely spaced, with less brush in between. Now, there’s more fuel on the ground than there has been in human memory. This process makes the wildland fires, when they finally do break out despite all suppression attempts, fiercer and hotter, more difficult to control and more destructive.

The scorched earth that they leave behind is nearly unprecedented. It may recover eventually, but it may take thousands of years for soil to regenerate and ground cover to re-establish itself. (We can surmise that fourteen thousand years would suffice, since in most of these areas the land was denuded in the Wisconsinan glaciation. But we don’t have good precedents to study.)

In most places, it’s now too late for controlled burning to reëstablish the ‘fire-climax’ ecosystem. Any attempt at a controlled burn is likely to unleash an inferno. I don’t know any good answers, here.

Incidentally, there is fairly sound evidence that many from among the First Nations practiced controlled burning. They usually did it for hunting, setting fire to drive the game before it, and for agriculture - the burnt land was fertile for food crops for at least a few years afterward. Since humans colonized North America not long after the Wisconsinan, we don’t actually know what a ‘natural’ North American forest would be like.

The whole mess is anthropogenic.


#17

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