With regard to wildfire, the public is being very cleverly deceived by the mass media. One important truth is being used to hide another.

The mass media always explain the proliferation of megafires as a product of climate change. There is truth to this; since 1800, the Earth’s temperature has increased by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This is significant, and a global problem. The ice caps are melting. Every year, the forests are a tiny bit drier.

What the media are hiding from the public, however, is the fact that in the past 30 years, since we stopped logging federal lands, the fuel load in the forests has increased immensely. It is this massive build-up of fuel-dead trees, limbs, and brush that is the primary reason these fires cannot be controlled.

There is a great irony here. Ostensibly, the media are concerned about climate change, and rightly so. However, they seem not to realize that forest fires release enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. In 2019, the Carr fire alone released as much greenhouse gas as all of the energy production for California. In 2020, the August Complex was four times as big as the Carr fire. California is releasing so far, more greenhouse gases through forest fires than through energy production. This should be alarming to environmentalists but seems to pass unnoticed.

Simple principles lie at the root of this problem. The drier the fuel, the more easily it ignites. Climate change makes this worse. However, the size of fire is controlled by the amount of fuel. Without massive amounts of fuel, you cannot have massive fires.

What is the solution? We need to manage our forests better.

In the past, logging practices were rapacious. Huge clear-cuts gouged the face of the land. This resulted in an over-reaction the other way, to almost no timber harvest at all on public lands. This, in turn, led to the even greater devastation of the forest that we are seeing now due to uncontrollable wildfires.

There is a better way, scientific forest management. We have the knowledge and technology to have beautiful, productive forests for many generations to come. We should harvest dead and drying trees and thin the forests.

At the same time, we should remove most of the coarse woody debris from the forest floor and use it in cogeneration plants. Once the reduction of fuels has been accomplished, prescribed fire can be used to maintain levels, without igniting large wildfires. Large, burned areas should be harvested immediately and replanted, to prevent erosion and subsequent fires. We should be creating parks and open forests, not vast devastated areas.

There are social and political obstacles to be overcome to reach this goal. The media needs to start telling the whole truth. The Forest Service needs to embrace the scientific forest management. Large nonprofit “environmental” agencies should not be allowed to use the legal process to tie these measures up in court. A great many professional foresters and fire scientists are trying to get this message out, but their viewpoint has been hidden from the general public.

(3) comments

Megan Killeen

Bravo, Mr. Montgomery! This letter was exhilarating to read. You really hit the nail on the head with every single aspect of mega-fires: the lost cultural practices, the logging history, the need for new practices to harvest dead and shrubby materials, the contributions of aridification, all of it. I agree completely with everything you wrote. Burning trees are a massive contributor to atmospheric CO2 and we should take whatever steps we can to reduce fuels to save more of the forest and prevent their fiery destruction. We desperately DO need to change our entire forest management structure and practical implementation. Excellent, poignant writing, sir! Bravo!

Trinity Bob

As an environmentalist, I wholeheartedly agree, Mr. Montgomery.

After camping around the Olympic Peninsula many years ago, I was shocked by all the clear-cutting that was done from the edge of the pavement to as far as the eye could see. I became convinced that logging was terrible. But what I’ve come to learn over the years is that it’s not the logging that’s bad, it’s the way it’s been done.

On my own property, I’ve removed about 90% of the brush and fir trees and the land is healthier than it’s ever been. It’s much safer too.

Since there is so little old-growth forest left, I feel we should preserve that which we have, but the national and state forests and private land holdings should be managed much better—through smart logging. We now know that forests are healthier when they are thinned, and the animals are happier and healthier too.

I do believe the message is getting out and that the mood of the nation is changing. Thank you for helping “fuel” the discussion.

Truth First

It seems we're all in agreement with the poignance of Monty's letter. To wit, that the Climate Scientologists have not been completely honest and should not be trusted, and that common sense approaches to solving environmental issues make better sense than relying on Cult Think. One correction: it's not "the media" who's at the heart of the problem; as with so many other things, it's the globalists.

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