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Climate Change

The Truth About Wildfires

The media's emotional narrative is about climate change instead of a more accurate picture.

Jordan Candler · Jul. 31, 2018

Places like California and Greece are suffering from severe wildfires (again), which have caused numerous deaths and terrible destruction. Of course, our alarmist and narrative-driven media can’t cover these catastrophes without conveying some nebulous link to global warming climate change. For example, the Associated Press matter-of-factly declared, “Extreme heat and wildfires made worse by climate change, say scientists.” Wildfires are “part of summer,” the article admits, “but it’s all being made worse by human-caused climate change.”

California Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown likewise blamed global warming for the severity of this summer’s wildfires, committing to efforts that “will help prepare the state to deal with the increasingly extreme weather and natural disasters caused by climate change.”

In truth, this oft-repeated claim lacks congruence. “Scenes of Californians fleeing their homes and Greeks swimming out to sea have fueled alarm about climate change fueling deadly wildfires,” The Washington Times says, “but recent studies show that such destructive blazes are on the decline worldwide. A September 2017 report in the journal Science found that global burned area dropped by about 25 percent over the previous 18 years, a finding consistent with a May 2016 paper published by the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. … Even in California, which for years has wrestled with fire devastation, a study in the International Journal of Wildland Fire found that the number of wildfires burning more than 300 acres per year has been tailing off since a peak in 1980.”

Speaking of California, meteorologist Joe Bastardi, in a May column for The Patriot Post titled “Before the Fact: Why Another Big Wildfire Season May Be on the Way,” explained that a soggy March and April in California set the stage for a bad wildfire season. Similar past patterns that preceded the development of El Niño indicated that drier conditions would follow — which they have — thereby aiding the wildfire season in the West. The opposite is true of Florida and the Northeast.

Regarding the seemingly worsening wildfire conditions, Bastardi offered this insight: “Quite frankly, the buildup in California means residents simply put themselves in positions where nature causes them problems. … As an environmentalist, I think the abuse of nature is not from excess CO2 but from man thumbing his nose at nature and building and paving ill-suited areas and then turning around and blaming something other than the actual cause. When you build houses on beaches that have been shifting forever, what do you think should happen? When you build houses in places that for years were forested, what do you think has to happen?” He added, “Look, it’s your choice if you wish to do that. But don’t go blaming nature when she simply does what she does.”

There may very well be a man-made component here — just not the one we keep hearing about through the media. But what is perhaps most remarkable is the fact that, despite this particular year’s wildfire season being especially severe and despite the increased risk that comes with city buildup, destructive wildfires are actually waning overall. Whether that trend continues remains to be seen, but it should at least make anyone question the prevailing narrative, which focuses solely on the immediate emotional impact of 24/7 televised destruction and human suffering instead of a reasonable view of the bigger picture.

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