Chad T. Hanson is a forest ecologist with the John Muir Project. Five years ago he wrote, “There are now 66 million dead trees in California’s forests due to several years of drought and native bark beetles, creating a “catastrophic” wildfire threat—or so claims U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. While Vilsack’s assertion may resonate with many in the general public because it makes intuitive sense, it simply isn’t true. Among scientists, there is an overwhelming consensus that weather (hot, dry, windy conditions) determines how wildland fires behave, not the density of dead trees.”
Those words still ring true for the fire this time.
Come to the monthly Sunflower Alliance to hear Mr. Hanson address the many misconceptions about rational forest management and the misdirection of our response to wildfires. Our understandable alarm about catastrophic wildfire has been exploited to advance corporate and political agendas, primarily that of the logging industry—which is now promoting forest biomass as a nature-based solution to the energy crisis.
Bring your questions! Here are a few articles to spark your thinking:
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-10-14/newsom-clear-cutting-rim-fire-california (Chad Hanson and climate scientist James Hansen on post-fire clearcutting and planting tree plantations)
Mr. Hanson’s latest book is Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save our Forests and Our Climate.