Solutions to Wildfires in Time of Climate Change Are Costly, Unpopular

By | November 14, 2018

  • November 14, 2018 at 1:29 pm
    reality bites says:
    Hot debate. What do you think?
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    Good article. Right up until the time that King Cheetoh tweets that he is “…the country’s best builder” and shifts the blame from “…poor, sadly poor forest management, really bad, to poor, sadly poor zoning and residents. No more federal bailouts for Deep Blue CA!”

  • November 14, 2018 at 1:33 pm
    craig cornell says:
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    In the 1970s, fire raged all along the San Gabriel mountains in Los Angeles County. As usual, it was in late fall, during a dry period of Santa Ana winds.

    Were the 1970s a “time of Climate Change”? Industrialization started in the 19th century. When has there not been a “time of Climate Change”?

    As the saying goes, when everything is Climate Change . . . The population of California has exploded to 40 million people. Where are they going to live if not in formerly remote brush area?

    Today in the San Diego Union Tribune, a ground breaking study by Climate Scientists at Princeton and UC San Diego that was widely lauded several months ago was . . . completely debunked. The “peer reviewed” study was said to establish that the oceans were warming far faster than we ever thought before. Who found the error? A single Climate Scientist/skeptic. One person. On page one of the report. A math error.

    The Climate Scientists who issued the study all “missed” it. The “peers” who reviewed the study missed it. Not one single journalist found it. Nope. Just one guy, a “denier”.

    And we blame all the fire problems on Climate Change . . .

    • November 14, 2018 at 2:53 pm
      Agent says:
      Hot debate. What do you think?
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      craig, the “Inconvenient Truth” is that the world is now in Global Cooling and has been the last two years. The Sun is in a minima stage, something the hoaxers will never admit and man has nothing to do with it.

      • November 14, 2018 at 3:09 pm
        Hoosierone1! says:
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        And the truth is, the center of our earth is melting the ice caps and warming the oceans. How hard is that to figure out?

        • November 15, 2018 at 9:49 am
          rob says:
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          Come on, Hoosier…you’re not fooling us. Everyone knows that the center of the Earth is where the Lizard People live…you know, the ones who give orders to the Deep State?

          • November 16, 2018 at 8:59 am
            HA! says:
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            ALL HAIL XENU. He will lead us to salvation. All you need is a billion dollars.

    • November 15, 2018 at 7:14 am
      geronimo says:
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      With regard to the Union article, the result was that after the error is corrected the consensus around ocean warming stands – and maybe it’s a little worse. Of course, the proximate cause of a fire is not global warming, but the trend in climate is for California to become much drier – which seems obvious. I’m annoyed that the ‘skeptic’ who is a mathematician has been termed a ‘denier’. Different things.

      • November 15, 2018 at 8:36 am
        Rosenblatt says:
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        Agreed Geronimo. After they fixed the error, they still found oceans were warming AT LEAST 10% faster than the IPCC predicted. “Completely debunked”? Hardly, and Craig knows this

        https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2018/11/12/507282.htm/?comments

        • November 16, 2018 at 3:13 pm
          craig cornell says:
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          10% is a rounding error. The problem with you religious zealots is that you ignore just how damned complicated climate science really is.

          The debunked study was lauded initially because it used a brand new technique for measuring ocean temperatures, a technique described as far more “accurate”. And because it added to the fear mongering. If the new technique showed LESS ocean warming, the media would have ignored it.

          Well, did the Climate Scientists at the IPCC admit that their technique wasn’t reliable in measuring ocean temps. in the first place? Never. It is all presented as fact.

          And in the rush to prove we are all doomed, the Climate Scientists doing the debunked study – and their peer review brethren (who are certainly doom and gloomers themselves) rushed to sell us apocalyptic stories and so they didn’t bother to really check their math. Now why would that be?

          • November 19, 2018 at 10:21 am
            Rosenblatt says:
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            “People shouldn’t be left with the impression that the errors in this paper put into doubt whether the ocean interior is warming. It clearly is wholly or mainly due to human greenhouse gas emissions”

            Who know who said that?

            The guy who found the math error in the first place.

            But please feel free to keep making up lies about what the data adjustment means in relation to the study’s original findings.

    • November 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm
      Agent says:
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      craig, unfortunately, the environmentalists are in charge in California. They have no clue how to manage and mitigate fire losses.

  • November 14, 2018 at 1:47 pm
    FRED FIREBRAND says:
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    I heard Cal no longer does controlled burns. If so, they should be resumed.

    • November 15, 2018 at 11:09 am
      PolarBeaRepeal says:
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      They prefer to spend tax money elsewhere, and will gladly take advantage of wildfires that may occur to blame them on their Global Warming Caused By Humans Hoax.

      • November 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm
        Rosenblatt says:
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        (begin sarcasm) They even have an acceptable number of deaths per fire until they start caring about saving lives. (end sarcasm) Come on man. There’s already 56 dead from the Camp Fire right now. Is that part of their plan to “gladly take advantage” of the fire for political purposes? Puh-lease.

        • November 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm
          PolarBeaRepeal says:
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          yes, it is.

          • November 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm
            Rosenblatt says:
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            Okay.

  • November 14, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    Coffee blogger says:
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    My opinion after 40 years as an insurance broker and sometime planning commissioner in rural Northern CA – the solution is Underground Wiring. Utility companies has started a program, but private property owners reject paying to underground their connection from the street to their private buildings. We are paying more to fight and clean up after fires than it would cost to bury the wiring that’s starting the fires.

    • November 16, 2018 at 7:22 am
      Merton Bunker says:
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      Good idea, but that will not prevent idiots who carelessly discard cigarettes or arsonists. Note that several high profile fires in the last year or two were caused by both of these things.

  • November 14, 2018 at 2:03 pm
    Karl Wendler says:
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    This is the most bogus article I’ve read in a long, long time. Climate change? I agree with Craig, when have we NOT had climate change? The real issue is poor to non-existent forest management. The whole place is a tinder box ready to go up. Climate change? Give me a break. That whole subject (man-made climate change) has been debunked so many times it’s not funny.

    • November 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm
      Agent says:
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      Karl, you are the voice of wisdom.

  • November 14, 2018 at 2:26 pm
    Mike Duncan says:
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    Since this article is principally directed towards Calif. one might suggest that the State pay for underbrush pre-burning, and aggressive forest management might be implemented???

    Competition for the bucks is the issue. Do we want safer communities, or more VOTEs?
    Insurance will bear the burden for most losses. That we all bare.The recovery is going to be very expensive. Generally, from for the insurance industry. But, the man-hours will come from the state. What’s the governing priority? I think ” VOTEs” will win out, and humanity will suffer for their lives left on this earth.

  • November 14, 2018 at 3:02 pm
    mike urbanek says:
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    The climate changes. Get over it. There are no more fires than there ever have been (or hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or drought). But there is more cable news, 24/7.

    There are more homes, and more people in places where they haven’t existed before.

    The state of California has poor forest management policies, inflicted upon us by the donations of the environmental lobby. But we’re going to have a bullet train, which will get us between Fresno and Buttonwillow with 7 stops and take as long as driving. And yet we keep electing bottom feeders from the Democrat Party.

  • November 14, 2018 at 4:02 pm
    David J Burns says:
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    Simple solution. If a building or house is destroyed by wildfire, tornado, hurricane then mandate, if any government funds are used to help rebuild, they be rebuilt as a Monolithic Dome. These buildings can withstand 400 MPH winds as well as fire. They cost about the same as stick built yet save 60% on energy. They are not as pretty (in the minds of the beholder) but would look beautiful to those who return to a Home, still there, after disaster strikes.

  • November 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm
    SacFlood says:
    Hot debate. What do you think?
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    See the movie about the sixty year anniversary of NASA, Above and Beyond. There is zero doubt about climate change, global warming, and the fact that it is man made. Burning CO2 warms the oceans, which causes stronger storms and fires. Simple. Accept it. Or stick your head in the sand like an ostrich. The rest of us will have to combat it. Folks, you have all the proof you need. You have Google. You have more information in the ‘phone in your hand than all the books ever written, yet you use it to send cat pictures; just drop out then, please.

    • November 14, 2018 at 5:03 pm
      craig cornell says:
      Hot debate. What do you think?
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      We have had fires forever in California. No honest Climate scientist would blame any single fire on Climate Change. But does that stop the headline writer at Insurance Journal? Nope.

      Don’t you get it? When you say EVERY weather event is due to Climate Change, you lose all credibility.
      No one listens anymore. YOU become the problem. (Go read again “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”).

      And then you go on to insult the people you are trying to persuade. Good luck with that.

      • November 15, 2018 at 2:55 am
        AJJJJ says:
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        Where in the article are the linking every weather to Climate Change? They mention wildfires in a time of climate change. Which in an article in an Insurance journal about builing in wildfire prone areas does not sound very unreasonable. Its about averages, trends, best estimates. That is science, you, on the other hand, are framing, son.

        • November 15, 2018 at 11:43 am
          craig cornell says:
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          I made the point earlier: fires in California are natural. Nobody knows whether Climate Change had anything to do with these fires. Or the fires 10 years ago. Or fires 10 years from now. And if Climate Scientists can get their research so wrong, why should we trust a headline writer at the Insurance Journal to tie Climate Change to any weather event?

  • November 14, 2018 at 9:50 pm
    Joe Sesto says:
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    I sgree that the Sierra Club and its environmental cohorts have contributed to the wildfire potential by blocking logical clear space requirements for new developments in brush areas.
    Plus developers do not want to incur the expense to create those green belt areas, But I question that it is more expensive to remove and replace shake roofs than a worn out comp roof. Our local laws prevent adding a 2nd layer over any kind of roof. The CA Uniform Building Code has required sprinklers on new residences since around 2010. Many here might recall the Simi Fire in Sept. 1970…it also had a Simi to Malibu footprint, except covered 435,000 acres, the 2nd largest in CA modern history, destroyed over 4O0 homes, 10 fatalities and cost over $2,000,000,000 in 2018 dollars. Many carriers have greatly increased the acceptable distance to heavy brush…some over 2000 feet, others even more as they fear the smoke damage potential. The FAIR plan is going to get very busy…as these losses continue to build.

  • November 15, 2018 at 6:31 pm
    R. Mucklin says:
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    Climate change, even if true, has very little to do with wild fires in CA. The last time I drove through Paradise where the Camp fire is going on, I wondered about the vegetation in that area. It’s a combination of building where people shouldn’t build, poor forest management, extremely dry weather, volatile plant life with oils in them that explode on contact with fire, inaccessible and very steep terrain, and electric company that hasn’t really updated many of their wires and transformers since the 1950s. While steep terrain makes it almost impossible to clear vegetation, the flat spots that could serve as fire breaks are not cleared either. I live surrounded by national forest which has not been cleaned up for decades, even though I’ve spoken with the local fire chief who is very aware of the problem, but can’t do anything about it because it’s “federal land”. Climate change is just an excuse to blame these tragedies on, since it’s a BIG problem that’s uncertain and too hard to fix; but solving all the above smaller problems could help to reduce the extent of the fires if we were smarter. Sometimes we seem to be a society that’s too dumb and too bureaucratically entrenched to survive.

  • November 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm
    craig cornell says:
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    Belated help with word definitions for Rosenblatt: “wholly” means 100%. “Mainly means 51% or more. The difference between the two is enormous.

    Not exactly settled science. In addition, since the Climate Scientist you are now citing discredited the doom-saying report on ocean warming, then it is obvious that if man is “mainly” responsible for global warming, that would mean man is 51% responsible for very little change in the climate.

    Congratulations! You now support my position.

    • November 19, 2018 at 4:13 pm
      Rosenblatt says:
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      Please stop lying Craig. Your original position was “Nobody knows [if the oceans have warmed or by how much]. It is all a guess.”

      You posted that over here — https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2018/11/12/507282.htm/?comments — in case you want to re-read what you said.

      But you’ve now just said the oceans ARE warming, and that man is at least 51% responsible for it.

      Are you going to claim something completely different next week just to argue for argument’s sake?

      • November 19, 2018 at 8:48 pm
        craig cornell says:
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        Rosenblatt: when you call me a liar, you had better back it up.

        I NEVER, repeat, NEVER said the oceans were not warming. Try to be an honest person for once. Stop being intellectually lazy and dishonest.

        What I said before and what I ALWAYS say is this: nobody knows for sure what is happening and more important, WHY it is happening. Are the oceans warming? Maybe.

        A new report on the 14 year (others say 18 year) hiatus in warming says it is due to: cyclical ocean current cycles, fewer sun spots, and warming oceans that are keeping the warming from the atmosphere. Sun spots! (How many climate scientists can predict sun spots?)

        Is that lying? No. It is what I always say: WAY too complicated for you or any other person to know exactly what is going on and why.

        So who is the real liar? Anyone who says it is settled science. Anyone who calls someone who is skeptical about what we know and what we can know a name. Like Denier.

        • November 20, 2018 at 8:41 am
          Rosenblatt says:
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          My prior post: Your original position was “Nobody knows [if the oceans have warmed or by how much]. It is all a guess.”

          You: I NEVER, repeat, NEVER said the oceans were not warming. Try to be an honest person for once. Stop being intellectually lazy and dishonest.

          Clearly I knew what you were arguing and I posted your original argument correctly.

          Please do a better job at comprehending what you read in the future. It should stop a lot of your straw man arguments and your claims that I’m being intellectually lazy and dishonest.

          • November 20, 2018 at 10:58 am
            craig cornell says:
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            Can you read at all? That is a serious question. I didn’t say the oceans were not warming. I said no one knows for sure.

            Please try to be honest. And if I am wrong, how much are they warming? Please be precise. 10% over 50 years? 1%?

            Walk the Walk. Show me the “proof”.

          • November 20, 2018 at 11:27 am
            Rosenblatt says:
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            Again, I previously wrote that your original position was “Nobody knows [if the oceans have warmed or by how much]. It is all a guess.”

            Nowhere in that sentence does it imply I’m saying your original argument was that the oceans are not warming.

            I clearly stated you don’t know if they are warming or not, but if they are warming, you don’t know by how much.

            Why do you keep arguing otherwise?

  • November 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm
    craig cornell says:
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    So let me in on the secret: how much are they warming? Please be precise. HA HA HA.

    • November 20, 2018 at 3:03 pm
      Rosenblatt says:
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      So do you now agree I posted your original argument correctly??

      • November 20, 2018 at 4:56 pm
        craig cornell says:
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        Geez, dude. I think you must be a heavy pot smoker. You said:

        “But you’ve now just said the oceans ARE warming, and that man is at least 51% responsible for it.”

        Dude: I didn’t say that. Ever. I said the Climate Scientist said that. (Logic test: that does not mean I agree. At all. Ever. I just told you what HE said.)

  • November 26, 2018 at 1:32 pm
    Rose says:
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    As a native northern Californian, having lived in and near our forests for 60 years and witnessed dozens of environmental organizations successfully appeal and litigate thinning and fuel reduction projects for the last 30 years, it’s a mistake to disregard and completely ignore the catastrophic impacts these actions have caused.
    No matter the level of “compromise” on project objectives these organizations will not give up the cash cow their litigation generates from a federal policy that allows “sue and settle” where the federal agencies pay the organizations not to take them to court, instead projects are shelved or significantly reduced. Agencies view settlement as a cheaper way to go given most forestry related cases are lost in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and will cost more to defend than to pay off organizations. After spending millions on environmental analysis, taking years to develop, you’d think federal agencies would be willing to defend proposed actions that could potentially protect communities and natural resources but that’s rarely the case.
    Secondly the CA Dept. of Forestry & Fire produced a fire hazard map at least 10 years ago designating most of Northern CA as “extreme fire hazard”, a majority of land ownership under this designation were lands managed by the US Forest Service, a neighbor of a majority of communities, towns and cities in the North State. Shortly after these maps were issued insurance companies began canceling fire insurance policies for homes and property as a result of the designation. When your neighbor is negligent in reducing fire hazards why should home owners be punished?
    At the same time CA Fire Hazard maps were issued a large thinning and fuel reduction project had been approved by the Forest Service in my county. Environmental organizations immediately appealed the decision and an injunction was issued. Not long after the fire broke out and burnt through the entire project area, destroying 35 spotted owl nest sites environmentalist claimed would be harmed if the thinning operation were implemented. The fire threatened two communities who were forced to evacuate, and ultimately became the largest wildfire in our county at 65,000 acres in 2007. Just ten years later fires have doubled in size and fewer federal acres are allowed to be treated for heavy fuel loads. Who should be held responsible for losses? Personally, I find it to be quite obvious.
    Over ten years ago everyone was warned and what did we do? Apparently continuing down the same path as the previous 20 years except now a larger segment of society believes rural communities shouldn’t exist in or near forested landscapes at all as a method to reduce loss of life and property from fire. That is NOT a doable nor reasonable solution! If the insurance industry, along with many others, were to weigh-in and demand that the USDA Forest Service, DOI Bureau of Land Management & Park Service substantially reduce fuels within WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) and be made exempt from the endless laundry list of demands by environmental organizations used to obstruct protective measure there could be aggressive progress made toward reducing the risk to insurance companies and home and property owners face today.
    This is not rocket science! But until appeals and litigation are restricted from obstructing life-saving fuel reduction and thinning at a pace and scale conducive to the landscape scale problem, we will continue to lose critical watersheds and water quality and storage, habitat, wildlife, communities, property, people and infrastructure and spend billions in firefighting costs. Instead of seeking some out of reach solution to climate change, whether you buy into the rhetoric or not, solutions have stared us right in the face for decades yet because these solutions involve harvesting and utilization of wood fiber it can’t be adopted and implemented. Who in their right mind believes that standing by while millions of acres burn, leaving a massive wake of destruction, spewing mega tons of black carbon into the atmosphere can have fewer impacts than does implementation of fuel reduction and thinning that produce short term impacts many of which can be successfully mitigated??!! A collective and strategic effort must be made simultaneously on multiple levels if we are to reduce significant risk over time. It took 30 years to get here, it could take 15-20 years to turn it around if efforts are not stall

    • November 27, 2018 at 3:47 pm
      Dave Burns says:
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      Excellent dissertation!



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