Communities can force government action to stop out-of-control wildfires

Every year, more of America’s forests burn. For months now, Americans throughout entire time zones have been inundated with ash and smoke from our woodlands, neighbors’ homes and ecosystems that will take years to recover.

Yet despite this predictable yearly carnage, the solutions our government can and should immediately take are lost among generalizations and talking points. Public officials on both sides of the aisle have lobbed excuses at each other over the “true” cause of these wildfires: “It’s bad forest management!” “No, it’s climate change!”

They are both right and they are both wrong.

Starting in the early 1900s, decades of flawed forest management led to the dangerous over-accumulation of forest fuel (dense forest brush and small trees). Then, in the past few decades, longer and more severe droughts made dangerously fire-prone forests literal tinder boxes where fires burned hotter, moved faster, grew bigger and posed ever-greater risks to

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Pets get assist from Humane Society during wildfires in California

Karen Pearlman
 |  San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Sherry Moland spent part of a recent afternoon at Iron Oak Canyon Ranch in Spring Valley, California, with her adopted 8-year-old horse, Whisper, tending to the horse’s physical and emotional needs.

As Moland put salve on the horse’s hooves, stroked her mane and fed her some fresh hay in the hazy sunshine off Campo Road, she said her home is not in the fire zone at present but she wasn’t taking any chances. She remembered well going through the Harris Fire in 2007, just a few months after moving into her Campo home.

She said two days earlier she called the San Diego Humane Society about a pickup and the San Diego County Department of Animal Services picked Whisper up and brought her to safety.

The Humane Society’s Emergency Response Team has been working in the field with Animal Services, evacuating

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Fact Check: Would forest management get rid of CA wildfires?

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President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (Olivier Douliery/Pool vi AP)

AP

President Donald Trump said in the presidential debate Tuesday night that California wildfires would not be happening if the state had better forest management, a claim that is misleading for multiple reasons.

Trump said during the debate with Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden that he gets calls every year about the California wildfires and the state needing emergency help.

“If you had good forest management you wouldn’t be getting those calls,” he said. He acknowledged that climate change might contribute, but insisted that proper forest management would be enough.

Scientists have agreed that climate change is a major reason the wildfires in the state have gotten worse, and the majority of

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