The current wildfires on the pacific coast are severe, but there seems to be differing ideas about the cause. Some say it is poor forest management, which allowed large amounts of dead wood to accumulate on the forest floor which made the normal fires of the ecosystem become larger. Some say this was helped along, especially in Oregon, by arsonists from Antifa, after one such moron (who had been arrested and released a few days earlier in Portland), was arrested by an interstate for starting a fire which swiftly became uncontrollable. And lastly, there is the old standby, “Global Warming.”
My usual response to the claims of Global Warming Alarmists is to look back through history for occasions where the same thing happened before. It is unlikely I can do so in this case, for it is unlikely small fires were put out before for a half century, allowing wood to accumulate to such a degree. Also it is unlikely fires were started to such a degree in the past by arsonists.
Usually such fires are started by thunderstorms with rain which evaporates before it hits the ground. The Navajo called such rain “lady rain”, and when I lived in Arizona I used to watch the lightning travel down the edge of such rain-stripes and then continue down to the ground which the rain never reached. Also I experienced that being directly under such a evaporating band of rain can create an impressive downburst of wind, and that you’d better have a heavy rock on the pages of the novel you are working on, if you type in a campground as morning clouds build.
The trees and plants of the west had evolved and adapted to such wildfires, and some pines require fires, to drop the seeds from their cones. Also Indians refused to settle in certain locations, well aware of the fire hazards during dry years.
In natural conditions the forest burned up the litter at low levels, and often the fires didn’t reach the tree tops. But then man created “Smokey The Bear” and put out the smaller fires. Men who cut down the forests had the presence of mind to burn up the slash, and to create fire-break roads to protect the young trees springing up in the clear-cut areas, but in areas where the woodlands were “protected” a dangerous situation developed, resulting in the tremendous fires in Yellowstone Park in 1988. I lived down in the Four Corners area back then, and even hundreds of miles away the sky grew brassy, you couldn’t see the mountains, and the air smelled of smoke.
The fires lasted for weeks, and blazes grew so hot that in places the soil was sterilized, making the natural recovery slower. The fires were largely “crown fires”, not remaining on the forest floor but burning trees right to their tops.
This resulted in greatly changed forest management at Yellowstone, but for some reason the left coast did not get the memo, and if anything has been even more stubborn about cleaning up dead wood, building fire-breaks and access roads, and allowing people to clear brush away from houses. Now perhaps they are learning, though the people most adamant about Global Warming seem to have a strange reaction to history, and to learning from history. In my experience they get mad at you, when you bring up the past.
Going further back history, to my puritan ancestors, and to times before anyone had migrated west of the Appalachian Mountains, there were so-called “dark days”. These are noted in the history of New England, especially as they tended to scare people, and people would all drop what they were doing and scurry to church, because the Bible states one sign of the apocalypse will be that the sun will refuse to shine. There are several historical occasions when the sun grew dim, or became blue in the sky, and all of these recorded events intrigue modern scientists, who seek the causes.
One of the darkest days occurred in 1780, which was a hard time in New England. Though the British had been kicked from the land, they ruled the seas, and their blockade was causing hardship. The war was not going well in the south, as Cornwallis was kicking butt, and also Puritan Christian consciences were troubled by the fact the revolution was in many ways a civil war, and brothers were fighting brothers and neighbor were not loving neighbors. The loyalists had their time in the sun, but after Washington drove the British from Boston they were treated abysmally, and many thousands trekked up to Canada stripped of all their wealth and status. Many good rebels helped them as they emigrated, but it did not sit well in the guts of many to exile people they had grown up with, and psychologists, (had they existed), might have noted guilt complexes. Then, in May, the bright spring sunshine grew duller and more brassy for several days, and then, on the morning of May 19, 1780, the dull dawn did not brighten at all, and in fact grew darker. People had relight candles at noon, and the spring peepers and owls began to sing and hoot as if were night, as the chickens went back to their roosts.
And did people turn to God? You can bet your sweet bippy they did. They say there are no Atheist’s in the foxholes, and apparently the same is true when it gets dark at noon.
The air grew musty, and was described by one person as “smelling like a coal bin”. To the north fine ash fell from the sky, and there was even a report from a wilderness area of New Hampshire that the ash accumulated six inches.
The fall of ash caused many later scientists to wonder if a volcano was involved, however geologists could find no source-volcano.
It was so dark business could not be conducted in the Connecticut legislature, and one member made a motion to adjourn. This resulted in this wonderful statement by Abraham Davenport:
“I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought.“
I think it was not until the 1970’s that scientists studying tree-rings in Ontario, Canada, noted that not only was 1780 a year of drought, but many trees showed fire scars that year. So it seems likely there was a colossal fire up in the unsettled taiga of Ontario.
All I can say is: Yowza! That fire must’ve been a humdinger! (Also that Alarmists will chose to turn a blind eye to such history, and Antifa will want to topple statues of Abraham Davenport.)