Wildfires continue to burn throughout California. Over 4 million acres have burnt so far, and one of the blazes now exceeds 1 million acres in size.

A wildfire that’s been burning in Northern California since the middle of August reached a new staggering record on Monday, becoming the first blaze in state history to scorch over 1 million acres.

The U.S. Forest Service said as of Monday morning the August Complex has grown to at least 1,002,097 acres and is 54% contained. The new mark came a day after the total area of land burned by California wildfires this year passed 4 million acres, more than double the previous record.

The blaze is burning through portions of Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Tehama, Glenn, Lake, and Colusa counties.

Loss of so much acreage will surely have a devastating effect on the state’s ecosystems and the wildlife that depends upon them. However, instead of addressing more sensible land management policy, California’s legislators have decided to protect mountain lions and other apex predators from rat poison instead.

California became the first state in the nation to ban super-toxic rat poisons that end up killing endangered and protected wild animals like mountain lions, owls and hawks, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

“Rodenticides are deadly for California’s mountain lions and other precious wildlife across the state,” Newsom said in a news release.

“My father was a naturalist and a strong advocate for the preservation of mountain lions, and I grew up loving these cats and caring about their well-being. He would be proud to know that California is taking action to protect mountain lion populations and other wildlife from the toxic effects of rodenticides.”

Furthermore, the rat populations have expanded with the homeless encampments. The new law means that rat-borne diseases are likely to become more common.

“By pulling these four highly toxic rat poisons from the hands of pest control operators, California is giving sensitive species like mountain lions a bit of a fighting chance,” Debra Chase, chief executive of the Mountain Lion Foundation, said in a written statement..

Pest control companies, the California Chamber of Commerce, apartment management associations and other business groups opposed the bill. They say the poisons are critical to controlling a rat and mouse population that has exploded in some major California cities, often in low-income areas and around homeless camps that have poor sanitation and piles of trash.

Legal Insurrection readers will recall the typhus outbreak in Los Angles and the concerns that bubonic plague cases could also arise in California.

The public health situation is so serious that one pharmaceutical company had to carve out an exemption for itself to keep its products free from rat contamination.

In an emailed statement, Amgen said it worked to secure the exemption because it simply couldn’t identify another method for sending rats to meet their maker—or one would meet the FDA’s standard, at least.

“While Amgen supports the intent of the bill, we have not yet found a reliable alternate technology that both satisfies the requirements of the bill and the [FDA’s] safety and sanitation requirements for our facilities,” a spokeswoman said in the email. “We will continue to pilot emerging pest control technologies in the hope of identifying alternatives that will also ensure our facilities remain compliant with FDA requirements.”

One final thought on Sacramento’s prioritizing mountain lions or humans. As the population grows from the implementation of ill-considered policies, the animals will expand their prey options.

Residents have reported a mountain lion roaming around Pacifica, California was shared online. It was also caught on video surveillance watching two kids riding their bikes in the streets.

Timothy Kerrisk, who initially thought it was someone’s German Shepherd, shared how the cougar was in his front yard as he screamed at the two children to run inside. The mountain lion then turned around, approached Timothy, then jumped over his gate towards a neighbor’s truck.

Timothy said that he chased off the creature until it returned towards the hill. He also shared that he was terrified when he saw the mountain lion and acted out of “pure adrenaline.

Sacramento’s pursuit of green justice fails to protect both mountain lions and humans effectively.

 

 
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