While speaking at the Games for Change Festival in New York City (funny how they always hold these "climate change" conferences in energy sucking cities) yesterday, Al Gore blamed the massive Arizona Wallow fire on climate change.
“Today, the biggest fire in the history of the state of Arizona is spreading to New Mexico. Today, the biggest flood in the history of the Mississippi River Valley is under way right now,” Gore said.
“At what point is there a moment where we say, ‘Oh, we ought to do something about this?’”
(Side note: in the video above, Gore calls the flooding in Nashville a "thousand year flood." If that's the case, then why is he citing climate change as a reason for flooding? People weren't driving cars around in Nashville 1000 years ago)
Yes, there is something that can be done: allow private industry back on federal forest land.
What Gore, and other extreme environmentalists, failed to mention is the responsibility the green movement holds for massive wildfires in the past 30 years due to policies that prevent private industries like logging, ranching and grazing from clearing out a build up of dead brush the forests.
Before the U.S. Forest Service was founded in 1905, with a purpose of managing public lands in national forests and grasslands, smaller, natural fires would clear out excess fuels on a regular basis from the forest floor. Private industry practices such as logging and cattle grazing also kept excess fire fuel to a minimum. However, due to the influence of green environmental groups in the past 30 years, logging and cattle grazing have been essentially outlawed on public lands, resulting in the overcrowding of trees. In some areas of our forests, Ponderosa Pine trees grow at a rate of 300 to 700 trees per acre. The natural amount of trees per acre in Ponderosa Pine forests is between 20 and 50 trees per acre and with an overcrowding of trees, comes more competition for water, prolonging western droughts beyond normal time periods, resulting in more dead trees and more excess fire fuel.
In October 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Healthy Forest Initiative, which set aside funds for the Forest Service to go in and begin to treat unhealthy National Forests through mechanical thinning, cutting down trees, salvaging of dead and dying trees and through prescribed burns. However, these efforts have been put on hold because the Forest Service is constantly being dragged into court, using taxpayer dollars by environmentalist groups through the Equal Access to Justice Act, to prevent any management of the forests through the Healthy Forest Initiative, citing violations of the Endangered Species Act or other regulations, for trying to manage the forests properly, which would prevent massive forest fires like the Wallow. The Forest Service has moved away from multiple use, meaning private industry, on public lands to policies focused strictly on recreational use dictated by green environmentalist special interest groups.
Massive wildfires like the ones burning in Arizona right now can be prevented through private industry, not more government regulation. As history shows, more government regulation has increased the risk of catastrophic fires exponentially.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.