Gavin Newsom?s Exceedingly Ignorant Climate Claim
Scientific evidence reveals there has been no climate effect regards California’s wildfires! None! The data below proves it beyond all doubt. There is no denying that warmer temperatures can cause drier fuels and promote larger fires. But that fact is being misapplied to all wildfires. About 70% of California’s 2020 burnt areas have been in grasslands and dead grass is so dry by the end of California’s annual summer drought that dead grasses are totally insensitive to any added warmth from climate change. Dead grasses only require a few hours of warm dry conditions to become highly flammable. It’s fire weather not climate change that is critical. Furthermore, the century trends in local temperatures where California’s biggest fires have occurred reveal no connection to climate change. In most cases the local maximum temperatures have been cooler now than during the 1930s. Those cooler temperatures should reduce the fire danger. Newsom is either ignoring or distorting the scientific evidence, is totally stupid, or is a dishonest demagogue.
Maximum temperatures are typically used by fire indexes to issue red flag warnings because it is the heat of midday that has the greatest drying effect. Minimum temperatures are often low enough to drop below the dewpoint at which time fuel moisture increases. So averaging minimum and maximum temperatures is inappropriate. In addition, referencing a higher global average temperature is meaningless. Only local maximum temperatures determine the dryness of surface fuels during every fire. As in Park and Abatzoglou 2019, the months of March through October are averaged to determine maximum temperatures during California’s dry season.
Here are some relevant facts (from the Western Regional Climate Center). Trust the scientific evidence
1) The August 2013 Rim Fire centered around Yosemite National Park, was California’s 5th largest fire.
2) The November 2018 Camp Fire was California’s deadliest fire destroying the town of Paradise. It was also its 16th largest fire.
3) The 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire was California’s largest fire (since 1932 excluding 2020) .
4) In the October 2017 wine country fires, the Tubbs Fire was the 4th deadliest. It only burned 37,000 acres but high winds drove embers into the dwellings of the heavily populated outskirts of Santa Rosa.
Governor Newsom ignores the data to disgustingly hijack the tragedy of California’s fires to push his climate change agenda. But he is not alone. There are climate scientists pushing catastrophes by ignoring the local maximum temperature trends. Bad analyses promote bad policies and obscure what needs to be done regards fuel management and creating defensible spaces in fire prone California. Newsom must focus on fuel management and fire suppression. As fire ecologist Thomas Swetnam echoed the experts’ growing consensus against fire suppression wrote, “The paradox of fire management in conifer forests is that, if in the short term we are effective at reducing fire occurrence below a certain level, then sooner or later catastrophically destructive wildfires will occur. Even the most efficient and technologically advanced firefighting efforts can only forestall this inevitable result.”
Scientific evidence regards fire and temperatures was generated when SciFi writer Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 about book burning. That prompted people to test that temperature. What researchers found was it takes a slightly higher temperature, around 481 F, to ignite paper. We should expect similar temperatures for dry grass.
Regards wildfires, once paper (grass and other fine fuels) are ignited, the fire generates its own heat so that at the center of a paper fire for example temperatures reach 1600 F degrees or more. Fire dries the srface fuels as it approaches. The 2 degrees of warming global temperatures, relative to 1600 F of fire-generated temperatures, are totally insignificant to the spread of wildfire.
Finally recent arrest for wildfire arson reveals another problem. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, arson accounts for 20% of California’s fires, 55% of Kentucky’s and is the leading cause of Florida’s fires. Arson arrests have already been made for some of the recent fires.
Despite all this, corrupt politicians want to blame wildfire tragedies on global warming to scare people into voting for them! I could never vote for such dishonest scoundrels.
Further information about California’s wildfires are
September 14, 2020
Based on my writings on penguins I was honored by Australia’s Institute of Public Affairs to contribute a chapter on the current state of the Emperor Penguins in the IPA's new book Climate Change: The Facts 2020