Maybe it isn’t the existential threat of global climate change?
“A criminal justice professor allegedly went on an arson spree in Northern California along the edges of the gargantuan Dixie Fire in late July.
Gary Maynard, age 47, set a series of fires in Lassen National Forest and Shasta Trinity National Forest, an area in rural Northern California near where the Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, still burns, federal prosecutors allege. California Forestry Department agents arrested him Saturday. He is charged with intentionally setting fire to public land and is being held without bail in the Sacramento County Main Jail.
“There are simply no conditions that could be fashioned that could ensure the safety of the public with respect to this defendant,” a federal prosecutor told the presiding judge Tuesday, according to the Sacramento Bee. …”
As we saw last year, there are plenty of sociopaths who live in that area who get a thrill from watching the world burn. The real problem though is that progressive forest management practices have created a tinderbox for anyone who wants to go out and strike a match.
“A man who taught criminal justice at Sonoma State University is accused of setting fires around the massive Dixie Fire and in Shasta County, California. CBS Sacramento reports Gary Maynard, 47, was arrested on Saturday and is charged with setting fire to public land.
He is accused of setting the Ranch Fire in Lassen County, as well.
The Dixie Fire has grown roughly 5000 acres since Monday night, and has burned more than 490,000 acres. It is 27 percent contained. …”
Greenville, CA was recently almost entirely destroyed by the Dixie Fire.
“GREENVILLE, Calif. — Randy Hovland has lived in this tiny Northern California mountain town since 1968, but the familiar sights that defined his life for more than a half-century have now been reduced to ash and rubble.
The Dixie Fire that has raged across the region charred his store, the Indian Valley Thrift Shop, and an art studio he had been working on for nearly three years. It destroyed the homes of 15 relatives who live in town — including his sister’s house, where he lived as a boy.
“The emotions are gone,” Hovland said as he looked out at the wreckage of his thrift store. “I’m just trying to stay focused and do what I’m here to do: helping rebuild.”
The Dixie Fire, revved up by dry vegetation and 40 mph wind gusts, ripped through this Sierra Nevada community last week, wiping out a gas station, a church, a hotel, a museum, neighborhood schools and dozens of homes. …”
Here in the South, we have always burned off our land. It is something that has happened every year of my life. They used to do this in California too to clear out underbrush back when it was a Red state for most of the 20th century and before there were devastating wildfires that raged out of control.
“Yes, there’s been talk across the U.S. Forest Service and California state agencies about doing more prescribed burns and managed burns. The point of that “good fire” would be to create a black-and-green checkerboard across the state. The black burned parcels would then provide a series of dampers and dead ends to keep the fire intensity lower when flames spark in hot, dry conditions, as they did this past week. But we’ve had far too little “good fire,” as the Cassandras call it. Too little purposeful, healthy fire. Too few acres intentionally burned or corralled by certified “burn bosses” (yes, that’s the official term in the California Resources Code) to keep communities safe in weeks like this.
Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres. The state passed a few new laws in 2018 designed to facilitate more intentional burning. But few are optimistic this, alone, will lead to significant change. We live with a deathly backlog. In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire. …
When I reached Malcolm North, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service who is based in Mammoth, California, and asked if there was any meaningful scientific dissent to the idea that we need to do more controlled burning, he said, “None that I know of.”
How did we get here? Culture, greed, liability laws and good intentions gone awry. There are just so many reasons not to pick up the drip torch and start a prescribed burn even though it’s the safe, smart thing to do.
The overarching reason is culture. In 1905, the U.S. Forest Service was created with a military mindset. Not long after, renowned American philosopher William James wrote in his essay “The Moral Equivalent of War” that Americans should redirect their combative impulses away from their fellow humans and onto “Nature.” The war-on-fire mentality found especially fertile ground in California, a state that had emerged from the genocide and cultural destruction of tribes who understood fire and relied on its benefits to tend their land. That state then repopulated itself in the Gold Rush with extraction enthusiasts, and a little more than half a century later, it suffered a truly devastating fire. Three-thousand people died, and hundreds of thousands were left homeless, after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and attendant fires. The overwhelming majority of the destruction came from the flames, not the quake. Small wonder California’s fire ethos has much more in common with a field surgeon wielding a bone saw than a preventive medicine specialist with a tray full of vaccines. …
In the Southeast which burns more than twice as many acres as California each year — fire is defined as a public good. Burn bosses in California can more easily be held liable than their peers in some other states if the wind comes up and their burn goes awry. At the same time, California burn bosses typically suffer no consequences for deciding not to light. No promotion will be missed, no red flags rise. “There’s always extra political risk to a fire going bad,” Beasley said. “So whenever anything comes up, people say, OK, that’s it. We’re gonna put all the fires out.” For over a month this spring, the U.S. Forest Service canceled all prescribed burns in California, and training for burn bosses, because of COVID-19. …”
California is far more arid than the South. It always has been.
You would think the fools out there would understand that this means it is even more important to do controlled burns every year, but the opposite is true. They have a different attitude toward the environment. Ever since progressives took over California, they have burned off less land and the underbrush has accumulated and built up, which is the cause of these devastating wildfires.
Note: In much the same way, California allows homeless people and illegal aliens to takeover through sheer neglect, refuses to build affordable housing for the middle class and working class and keeps gas prices sky high by refusing to develop its oil and natural gas resources.