Monday, August 10, 2009

Will warming change California's climate on fire thinning? (California): For fear of painting cultural cartoons, here's a broad truth about environmental politics in California: The people who think we need more management of our forests don't believe human activity is changing the climate, while the people who think global warming is an urgent problem don't think a single tree should be cut down lest it prove to be habitat for the western pine beetle.

In the face of that deadlock, a new report from the state Natural Resources Agency on how California should cope with climate change serves up a reassuring dose of realism, especially when it comes to the future of our forests.

If we do nothing, that future looks grim. Recent years' dramatic increase in forest fires throughout the state will only multiply, most models predict. Hotter temperatures mean drier soil, stressed plants and more insects - and all that adds up to more and larger wildland blazes, including more "stand-replacing" fires so severe that forests as we know them might never return.

The report's prescription, in part, is more management: "Proper fuel management, strategically placed, can effectively reduce hazard and risk and help restore vegetations conditions that are more resistant to wildfire damage."…

USAF C-130 equipped with the Modular Airborne FireFighting System is loaded with retardant to fight a Southern California fire. USAF photo from

No comments: