I was slated to be hiking in Yosemite National Park today, but the Ferguson fire in the area forced our family to shorten our vacation. Instead, I am back at my front line battle station in Southern California.

The good news is that the wildfires are being contained, including the historically largest blaze in state history.

Progress made over the past few days in fighting the largest wildfire in California history could be lost this weekend, as the weather seems unlikely to continue to cooperate.

The Mendocino Complex, made up of the River and Ranch fires, grew to 329,800 acres overnight but was 76 percent contained as of Friday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

“Overnight, firefighters were able to reinforce containment lines, tying together pre-existing containment barriers, especially north of the Snow Mountain wilderness,” officials said.

The situation has been so dire, California had to import firefighters from Australia and New Zealand. Before working, they had to learn English, such as a drainage is a gully or ravine and a tanker is a water-dropping helicopter, not a water-carrying truck, which is known as a tender.

During his recent tour of the state, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke fanned the flames of eco-activist ire by blaming their policies for contributing to the fire.

Zinke, who visited neighborhoods ravaged by the state’s largest wildfire ever over the weekend and on Monday, said environmentalists and green regulations in California made the fires much worse.

“We have been held hostage by these environmental terrorist groups that have not allowed public access — that have refused to allow [the] harvest of timber,” Zinke told Brietbart radio over the weekend.

During his visit to the Golden State, Zinke pushed a narrative that increasing logging industry access to national forests could limit fire intensity.

“But we have these radical environmentalists that close off roads, refuse to have firebreaks, refuse to have any timber harvested, no grazing, and the result is these catastrophic fires,” Zinke said.

The term, environmental terrorist groups, may seem extreme at first read. The definition of terrorism is, “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”

Once could make the case the green justice warriors have been using lawful intimidation for their political aims, which includes control of vast swaths of this country so they can no longer be used by the American people. The crusade for climate justice, which has been the banner for more big-state policies, has meant that practical and reality-based forest management techniques have been ignored or negated in the quest for the elusive, green ideal.

Yet terrorism leads to death and destruction. The loss of life and the billions in recovery efforts attest to the horrendous consequences of blindly implementing rules because they reflect the science du jour. So, in that way, Zinke is correct.

Serious policies makers would be considering solid data an analysis, such as the 207 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Tree Mortality Task Force in California and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The analysis concluded that there are a record 129 million dead trees in California that have been killed due to forest mismanagement.

Randy Moore, Regional Forester of the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region stated in the report that these dead trees, if not cleared, would help wildfires grow and spread.

“The number of dead and dying trees has continued to rise, along with the risks to communities and firefighters if a wildfire breaks out in these areas,” Moore said, per the report.

“It is apparent from our survey flights this year that California’s trees have not yet recovered from the drought, and remain vulnerable to beetle attacks and increased wildfire threat. The USDA Forest Service will continue to focus on mitigating hazard trees and thinning overly dense forests so they are healthier and better able to survive stressors like this in the future.” he added.

The solution? “By combining tree removal with prescribed fire, crews will be able to decrease overly dense stands of trees, reduce greenhouse gases, and protect communities across the state,” the groups say in the report.

The trouble with the focus on climate change is that any action taken could, theoretically yield only long term solutions. If the focus of forest management reverts to real environmental protection, then localized and practical solutions will quickly resolve the causes for the rapid spread most of these blazes….including the ones started by arsonists.

Unless things change with Sacramento and Washington DC politics, we are going to continued needing to train other foreign fire-fighters in American technical terms.


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