CNN meteorologist fact-checks President’s claims California fires due to poor forest management

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

9 thoughts on “CNN meteorologist fact-checks President’s claims California fires due to poor forest management”

  1. Very good video on the facts! I just hope that the administration will hear about this …I know he doesn’t like CNN but these facts just speak for themselves. Bottom line here. People have lost their homes and their lives. Doesn’t this scream for help from the Government? Let’s hope so……..

  2. Forest mgt has NOTHING to do with wildfires? The fire pros brain must be fried; no excuses for the CNN ignorant “fact checker”. FUEL, fuel is required. Neither mentions dry vegetation, 129 M dead trees, environmental preventing creation of fire breaks. President Trump was correct to point the finger.

    1. Cynthia, You are making the same mistaken assumption that the President did. Many of the wildland fires that occur do not occur in what we would call commercial forest land (i.e. the lands where forest management would occur). And even in areas with commercial forest, the only way you could prevent fires in the conditions that occurred during the Camp Fire would be to clearcut and pave the entire landscape. Or else keep all human activity away from any forested area, since almost 90% of all wildland fires across the country start as a direct result of human activity. Can we do more to reduce the risk of high-severity fires? Of course, as long as someone is willing to pay for it. But we’ll never prevent all of them. Particularly in a warming climate. But ‘forest management’ wasn’t the key problem in these particular fires. So no, the President was badly misinformed in this case. Which isn’t surprising when he couldn’t likely tell the difference between a palm tree and a pine.

      1. Forest management is not just for commercial forests. Residential areas are in need of forest management, too. But, they don’t. It takes time and money to properly care for forest land, make the proper fire breaks, etc. especially where people live and work.
        It was sparks that started the fire, FUEL that spread it. Cynthia was on point. You can even look for photos circulating of managed forests before and after fires and those that aren’t managed, that are flooding your biased media.

        1. Loretta, you seem to be conflating forest management with fuels management and fire suppression. “Forest management” occurs on wooded areas capable of producing 20 cubic feet per acre per year or more (i.e. commercial forest land). Fuels management can occur anywhere from grasslands, to sagebrush to chaparral, to wooded areas. They have very different objectives and cost/benefit ratios. You can argue that we haven’t been doing enough fuels management and I’d agree but that’s largely because no one wants to pay for it unless they are forced to because it’s all costs while the benefits are simply reduced risk. It’s a great benefit if it helps you avoid fire damage but mostly just annoying when you don’t have a fire to avoid. Kind of like car insurance in that regard. Which is why we ended up having to mandate car insurance because a lot of people didn’t want to pay for it. (see where my argument is going?)

          Fire breaks can help but this was a fire that jumped a half mile wide lake so those wouldn’t have done any good here at all. The only thing that would’ve stopped the fire from burning Paradise was if all the trees and shrubs had been removed for a mile or so around the town and left with nothing but dirt, pavement, or low grass for the fire to cross.

          We can’t manage our way out of this problem without addressing the key factors that were involved — a warming climate and too many people in the wildland-urban interface. You are right that it takes time and money to manage fuels, money that the federal government has repeatedly cut in recent years, including in the current administration.

        2. Biased media is indeed some of the problem of information getting to the people of this country. So is politicized jargon. Facts should be presented. Not political agendas. Our current leader is guilty of not getting facts straight also. Bottom line here I think is. Reduction in fuels and people’s awareness of fire potential would help in a lot of ways to help with this situation. Of course it would take money to do that. But taking away more Fed monies for fire to force awareness is not the answer.

  3. I have a hard time believing that taking money away from Fire to punish would help in any case. I think the gist of this article was to call attention to Urban Fires and not Forest Fires. The Management of Forests is another and separate issue all together. It’s true that Fire needs Fuel. Yes. But in this case the Fuel is indeed dry vegetation but it is also homes and people……

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