THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON FAITH, FAMILY AND LIFE
CLIMATE CHANGE HOAX – 6
the fires raged in California, the liberal environmental extremists
raged as well. They of course blamed climate change (a.k.a.
global warming), when it was actually their fault, exhibiting
a lack of understanding about healthy fires.
Extreme Wildfires Caused By Extreme Stupidity, not Global
the push for strong action at this year's United Nations climate
change conference in Katowice, Poland, a common refrain is
that rising carbon dioxide levels (CO2) will supposedly result
in global warming that will increase the incidence of disastrous
longer we wait, the more our communities will suffer under
bigger wildfires...,” wrote Lou Leonard of the World
Wildlife Fund on December 4.
is totally wrong, but then World Wildlife Fund got their recent
claims of animal populations wrong as well.
temperatures and increasing CO2 both act to increase
soil moisture and so reduce the potential of fires.
When temperatures rise, evaporation increases, causing more
precipitation which increases soil moisture and so lessens
fire risk. As CO2 rises, stomata, the pores in plant’s
leaves, are open for shorter lengths of time. Plants therefore
lose less water to the air and so more of it stays in the
soil, again reducing fire potential.
to these factors, as well as the fact that we now put
out fires that would have burned for weeks in centuries past, there
has been a significant reduction in forest fires over the
past 100 years. In fact, analysis of sediment cores off the Pacific
coast of Canada reveals that the incidence of wildfires
has reduced since Europeans settled in North America.
a closer look at the issue reveals that fire
has benefits as well as risk.
has allowed humans to live in areas where the climate would
normally preclude our survival. It allowed us to cook and
soften food that was ordinarily indigestible. In many areas,
people set fires under controlled conditions to drive game
into traps. A classic example was the grassfires used to drive
bison over cliffs to provide food such as at Head-Smashed-In
Buffalo Jump in Alberta.
is also an essential part of the natural cycle. It clears
off dead debris as plants go through their lifecycle. There
is a special area of botany called Fire Ecology that studies
the role and importance of fire in ecosystems. In most ecologies,
especially forests, many plants require fire to soften or
open the seeds to start life, although the seed shell
must survive the fire first.
example of such a seed occurs in the vegetation of what is
called a Mediterranean climate. California is an example of
this type. It is a unique climate zone because 70 percent
of the precipitation occurs in the winter. All other climate
types have either 70 percent in summer or even distribution
throughout the year.
Mediterranean climate results in a unique vegetation called
Maquis in Europe and Chaparral in California. The annual climate
cycle that makes this an area that
requires fire to be healthy has a hot,
dry, summer that shrivels the plant but the seeds survive.
At the end of the summer, lightning occurs as rain clouds
begin to form and that triggers fires that burn off the
plants but leave many of the seeds intact. Mudslides follow
as the rainy season progresses. Fortunately, the
seeds germinate quickly and stabilize the soil.
natural cycle of forest fires creates what are called crown
fires. They move through quickly, burning off dead debris
but leaving most of the plants still alive. When governments
decided to stop forest fires, they upset the natural dynamics
completely. The bureaucracies, now populated by graduates
of the biased environmental education system, willingly
allowed the environmental extremists’ demands to
end the former sensible practice of cleaning
the undergrowth. Activists complained
that such forest tending was not ‘natural,’ when
it was, in fact, a reasonable facsimile of ‘nature’.
the debris built up, leaving the forest a tinder box all ready
to ignite. Making matters worse, when a fire takes hold,
it now often creates what is referred to as a base fire. These
fires are very difficult to extinguish—the heat allows
such fires to burn into the ground and, days after a fire
is supposedly out, it will flare up again.
must recognize the value of fire in nature. Extreme environmentalists
and the new young bureaucrats with their ideological tunnel
vision get it all wrong. And, the light at the of the tunnel
is another deadly forest fire, not caused by global warming
or CO2 rise, but by gross stupidity.
Dr. Tim Ball is an environmental consultant and former climatology
professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba. Tom Harris
is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International
Climate Science Coalition.