Don’t blame latest fires on global warming

Published 4:45 pm Friday, September 18, 2020

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Lots of people in politics and the media out here in California are blaming global warming for the 26 major wildfires that have killed at least 24, burned more than 3 million acres and destroyed thousands of homes.

But let’s get real.

This state has been plagued by wildfires long before baby left-wingers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez decided that they’re caused by humans heating up the planet by burning fossil fuels.

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I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1950s.

We didn’t have as many people, cars or smokestacks in those days, but we had plenty of 115-degree days in the summer.

Why? Mainly because we were living in a desert.

The L.A. area may not actually meet the official definition of a desert, but anyone who’s lived here long enough to get a suntan knows that’s essentially what it is.

If it weren’t for the Colorado River, which provides 1.4 trillion gallons of water a year to about 18 million Southern Californians, we couldn’t survive here.

Because we live in a basin, and because temperature inversions in the atmosphere form caps that trap smoke and pollution, we’ve always had smoke or smog hanging over us.

Heck, when the Spaniards arrived by ship in the 1500s they saw the smoke over Los Angeles and called the harbor Baya de los Fumos, or Bay of the Smoke.

The Spaniards didn’t know whether the smoke came from the campfires in the many Native American villages in the basin or from the wildfires in the hills that had been started naturally by dry lightning – just as they are today.

When I was growing up, we had wildfires in the hills and the Santa Ana winds fanning them every year.

It’s one of California’s seasons. It’s like Florida’s “Hurricane Season,” only we call it “Fire Season.”

Back in the 1950s, the wildfires up and down the state mainly burned dry brush, grass and dead foliage, not homes and small towns.

But in the last 70 years, as California’s population exploded, we’ve built hundreds of thousands of new houses where they shouldn’t be.

Today wildfires still happen in the same places they used to, but the difference now is that hundreds of homes get destroyed.

If you’re living in a rural or suburban area with a million dead trees around you and a wildfire starts from dry lightning, a downed PG&E power line or an arsonist, don’t be an AOC and blame global warming.

Blame government stupidity.

For a hundred years federal and state forest managers have practiced a wrong-headed policy that quickly suppresses wildfires.

That policy, which has been criticized for decades, allows enormous amounts of fuel to build up on the forest or canyon floor so that when future wildfires start, as they will eventually, they will burn so fiercely they can’t be stopped.

Other bad government policies have helped to make wildfires more dangerous and destructive.

They include allowing housing developments in high risk areas and environmental laws that prevent people from clearing the brush and trees around their homes.

The state of California’s FAIR Plan that provides last-resort fire insurance to homes built in high-risk areas doesn’t help, either.

AOC, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and their frontman Joe Biden promise if they depose Donald Trump on Nov. 3 they’re going to pass the Green New Deal, rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, save the planet and bring an end to things like California wildfires.

But there’s a question the greenies never want us to ask: If we do everything you want us to do to cool down the planet, how much cooler will it be in 20 or 30 years?

The answer is something like .002 percent.

Despite their big promises, even if we eliminate all cars and all fossil fuels and start living in caves again, LA’s future will still include 113-degree days, smog, droughts and killer wildfires.

So reversing global warming is not going to stop California’s fire season, just as electing Joe Biden won’t cure COVID-19.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “Lessons My Father Taught Me: The Strength, Integrity, and Faith of Ronald Reagan.” He is the founder of the email service