Federalist: I grew up in California’s Ventura County and have family in both southern and northern California. Right now, the most deadly fire in California’s history is racing across northern California. The Camp Fire has already killed at least 56 people, burned down 7,700 homes, and destroyed the entire town of Paradise. A brush fire is also wreaking havoc on southern California. The Woolsey Fire has destroyed 98,362 acres, killed two people, and damaged several Hollywood landmarks such as the set of “MASH” and the Reagan Ranch.
Article after article blames two things for California’s frequent fires: global warming and human action. For example, a BuzzFeed article is titled, “How A Booming Population And Climate Change Made California’s Wildfires Worse Than Ever.” While dry conditions make fires more likely and people often start them, this misses the big picture. President Trump summed it up on Nov 10. He wrote, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor … Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
Trump is right. Mismanagement and overregulation deserve most of the blame, but he should keep in mind that the federal government owns 57 percent of California forest land. This mismanagement is also not a result of a lack of care. Believe me, Californians care.
Growing up, we spend almost as much time talking about fire safety as we do hiding under our desks practicing for earthquakes. We see just as much of Smokey the Bear as we do of Mickey Mouse. California and federal agencies have mismanaged forests, not because they don’t care, but because they chose the agenda of environmentalists over commonsense forest management. The result has been deadly.