Issues, States

Tree-hugging is Making Outbreak of Wildfires Much Worse

It’s an argument that has been made numerous times over the years, and, given the historic conflagration in northern California this fall, it needs to be repeated.

It’s no coincidence that wildfires tend most often to break out and live much longer on the Left Coast.

Rabid environmentalist policies aimed at ‘saving the trees’ [insert complementary econut drivel] over the last half century have resulted in a build-up of underbrush and over-growth of trees which have turned forests into tinderboxes just waiting for a spark.

As the Reason Foundation points out, the US Forest Service has been hamstrung with lack of funding and regulations preventing it from managing forests to control both the start and perpetuation of wildfires.

It’s a grand liberal irony that the policies aimed at protecting forests are precisely what has contributed directly to their destruction.

Here’s more from Daily Signal…

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century.

But many of these successful methods were abandoned in large part because of efforts by environmental activists.

The Forest Service became more costly and less effective as it increasingly “rewarded forest managers for losing money on environmentally questionable practices,” wrote Randal O’Toole, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Spending on the Forest Service has risen drastically, but these additional resources have been misused and haven’t solved the underlying issues.

“Fire expenditures have grown from less than 15 percent of the Forest Service budget in [the] early 1990s to about 50 percent today. Forest Service fire expenditures have increased from less than $1 billion in the late 1990s to $3.5 billion in 2016,” O’Toole wrote.

Perhaps now, Americans will begin to re-evaluate forest management policies.

In a May congressional hearing, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said, “Forty-five years ago, we began imposing laws that have made the management of our forests all but impossible.”

Read more…

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