Aug 21, 2021

Dealing With Smoke From Forest Fires

Many of us living in the West seem to deal with smoke every summer and fall from forest fires that happen in various Western states.   It is now so bad in many areas from fires in California that it is not safe to go outside.  These levels of smoke not only have respiratory health implications; but also economic ramifications.  Many businesses with outdoor activities must close in what is often peak season costing them millions of dollars.  And, of course what is worse is that many homes and other structures end up in the path of the fire.  Entire little cities have burned to the ground during this fire season.  

Like everything these days even forest fires are being politicized.  Environmentalists claim these fires are happening because of drought caused by climate change, which is the result of carbon emissions.  Others say we are experiencing normal cyclical climatic change not something necessarily caused by carbon emissions.  We need to get past the politics and solve the problem, please.  First, we must have comprehensive forest management, which means cutting down dead trees often impacted by a beetle that is killing these trees.  And, we must have clear cutting of big swatches of forest to create fire breaks.  That means allowing lumbering again in many of these forests.  

Further, electric companies must be forced to put their lines either underground or above ground in pipes because many of these fires are caused from power lines sparking.  We are hear talk about infrastructure projects.  Well this should be one of them.  And, we must build more dams to collect water rather than allowing it to run out to sea.   We can't control fires caused by lightening strikes; but we can control these man made issues.  

Forest fires have an immense impact on people and businesses.  Many people lose their homes because of these forest fires.  Some even lose their lives.  We have to put politics aside and solve the problem.  We cannot continue business as usual because every summer and fall seems to get worse.