Global warming behind western wildfires, enviros say


Mar 11, 2001
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Environmental Activists Claim Wildfires Sparked by Global Warming

By Michael L. Betsch, Staff Writer

July 04, 2002

( - Hundreds of thousands of acres of forests have gone up in smoke in America's western states, with developers blaming conservation policies they say produced thicker forests that are more vulnerable to fires and environmentalist activists blaming the phenomenon known as global warming.

Environmental activists say "agenda driven" politicians and the timber industry are unfairly blaming them for causing the massive wildfires that have already devastated 450,000 acres of forest in Colorado and Arizona.

According to Ray Fenner, executive director of the Minnesota-based environmental activist group Superior Action Wilderness Network (SWAN), "These guys are going to look like total idiots when the truth comes out about why these things are going on."

"Fires have been a natural occurrence throughout the history of the world, at least in the ecosystem," said Fenner, who advocates a hands-off approach to managing forests.

"I say to the Rush Limbaughs, nature for eons has seemed to manage her forests pretty darned well before we got here, and look what's happening now," Fenner said.

But there are a "couple of problems" with simply writing-off wildfires as natural occurrences, said Robert F. Legg, president and CEO of the Temperate Forest Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes the "responsible consumption and production of natural resources."

Legg said the first problem is that "we stopped Mother Nature from doing what she did naturally." Smokey the Bear and other fire prevention campaigns, he said, have taught the public to "prevent fires at any cost."

"The other thing," Legg said, "is we don't live back in the Dark Ages anymore."

"We've got people living everywhere, so you don't have the luxury of just letting a catastrophic event happen," Legg said. "You can't just sit back and say, 'Okay, we'll let Mother Nature take its course. It's just natural.'"

Fenner denies that conservation policies, promoted by environmentalist activists, are to blame for the fires.

"Where's the talk about global warming that has caused Arizona and other areas to become so tinder-dry in the first place?" Fenner asked.

Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, echoed Fenner's concerns.

"We know now that global warming may result in more hot, dry Arizona weather. We know that Arizona has been experiencing an extreme drought this year. We know that such weather increases the frequency and intensity of wildfires, threatening both property and forests," Inslee said.

Legg said he wasn't surprised by the fact that both Fenner and Inslee made references to global warming.

"That's a favorite issue. They'd like to tie [the fires] to it," he said.

Legg explained that the cause of the wildfires can be explained in one "very simple correlation -- we fail to manage the forests."

"Part of the problem is [urban people] come to see the forest as something static," Legg said. "It could be 100-percent old-growth and kept that way forever under a glass bubble. That's their [environmental activists] perception."

With the forests being so overstocked and the fuel loads so high, it has become nearly impossible to do any prescribed burning, Legg said.

"You can't go in and use fire as a management tool until you mechanically clear some of that stuff out as a fire management tool."

But the majority of environmental activist groups do not support any manual clearing of forests, even in the name of preventing catastrophic wildfires, Legg said.

"A lot of the activist groups," Legg s*aid, "don't want any machinery; they don't want any mechanized equipment in there cleaning these forests out."

Legg understands the concerns of those who wish to maintain pristine forests for Americans to appreciate and enjoy.

"We realize there's special places that have to be set aside. People want to walk out into old growth stands and do all these things, and that's okay. But outside of that, let's manage the rest and manage it very actively," he said.

"By preventing fire for so long, and now by not cutting trees to even mimic fire, we're creating some really bad conditions that will lead to catastrophic events," Legg said. "I think the forest fires in Colorado and Arizona are really a wakeup call."


Well-known member
Dec 14, 2001
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Do any of these clowns have to be drug tested on a regular basis before they get in front of a microphone or reporter? Me thinks not.....



Well-known member
Mar 15, 2001
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Pass on the drug testing just give them an overdose:ideablue::smiley-thumbs-up:

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