Joe Biden tried to show how he holds the ball in this week’s briefing on the national wildfire situation. It is useless.
Biden is meeting with Western governors, so you can see that he is talking about the annual wildfire phenomenon, how terrible they are, and how we must do everything we can to stop them, even if it only makes the situation worse in the future.
“We know this is becoming a regular cycle,” the president said, “and we know the situation is getting worse. The fact is that we are catching up. This is an under-resourced area, but if we have a responsibility with it Whatever it does, the situation will change.”
People are very ignorant of what Joe Biden said.
First, wildfire has not become a regular cycle. It is already. It has existed since fire and time began. Fire is nature’s way of purifying itself and starting the next cycle, all of which proceed according to a timetable that ignores humans.
Wildfires are getting worse, not because of global warming or climate change, nor because of the green slogan this summer. Wildfires are getting worse because humans insist on allowing fuel to accumulate and then extinguish the fire before they finish their work. Oh, humans are getting closer to the woodland and even building houses in the woodland.
As more and more people move from decaying cities to wooded areas, building expensive houses they expect taxpayer-funded fire departments to protect. It is not unreasonable in itself.
Nature will not stop growing, dying, and accumulating volatile fuel, because most of us don’t pay attention until we see flames on TV. Every year, every acre of woodland will grow into tons of potential fuel-fallen branches, shrubs, needles.
For example, Douglas fir trees look evergreen ((cq)) because they only shed 20% of their needles each fall. It is more flammable just like leaves. Needles pile up on the ground year after year. Ever throw a handful of dry needles on a campfire? Ho! Small pieces of burning debris rise with the hot air flow, spreading embers. This is how nature purifies itself.
This is a newsletter for residents of DC: When things are ready to burn in nature, they will burn. Thousands of lightning strikes the ground in the west every night. Government satellites marked the location of each hit.
If any of them hits a dry place, usually in a remote area, it will catch fire. This kind of heat also appears on satellite images.
On days with low winds and slightly higher humidity, firefighters can sometimes divert flames away from buildings and/or lakes or rivers. But many times, for a large wildfire like a hurricane, basically all anyone can do is get him out of the way.
Bark beetles have killed millions of trees in thousands of acres in the west, producing tons of dry wood waiting to be set ablaze. One year, maybe two years, these dead wood can be harvested and used economically in an industry where timber prices are soaring due to supply shortages.
After that, nature began its own recycling process. The wood is cracked, infested by worms, and it is worthless except to make a fire in the fireplace or in the wild.
Environmental lawsuits and federal regulations have weakened the logging industry, and in fact, most logging projects are delayed after the time when the wood is worth logging.
Western governors know all this. Biden told them just what he knew from the camera. Governors know that wet springs are good for growth. The wet spring creates all the green growth for wild animals to eat, build nests and hide babies.
But when the hot day comes, the brush will dry out, just like every summer now. This consumes more fuel for wildfires.
In the days before settlers began to flow into the western United States, Native Americans began their own wildfires. They have no environmental regulations to comply with. Their fire can burn for months. They knew that if the flames cleared the bushes, some trees, deer and other wild animals would soon move back to ease the balance between hunting and life.
They also knew that the ashes from the fire fertilized the hungry soil, creating large swaths of berries and other food, providing them with food and attracting prey.
The wildfires of the western United States are awesome monsters. At close range, they roar like dragons, sucking in air from behind, preheating and blowing out in front to prepare the waiting fuel. Sometimes, the heat creates a fiery mini tornado the size of a silo.
These wildfires do not consume a piece of paper from side to side like flames. Wildfires jump from tree to tree, and even from hillside to hillside. Looking from a distance, it seemed that someone suddenly lit thousands of candles a hundred feet high on the mountainside.
They did not really catch fire. As they warmed up, they just exploded in yellow and red flames, and suddenly they whizzed past tree by tree. As the hot air rose, they moved faster and faster on the hillside. No one can surpass this.
Every exploded tree emits burning embers to spread the fire. Sometimes, these explosions are so violent and the hot air currents are so strong that a huge flame branch will rise into the air, over the ridge, and ignite a new area.
In response to such incidents, the states and the FBI let helicopters hang in giant buckets in nearby lakes. There are also water bombers like fighter jets. At a height of only a few hundred feet, they must fly fast enough to fall into the water under the control of the strong updraft of the fire, but they must be slow enough to accurately target the hot spots with large amounts of flame retardants. It is orange and is used to mark the path of subsequent aircraft.
During some wildfires during my work in the emergency government, U-2 spy aircraft flew over to collect thermal imaging and show fire management personnel the location of dispatched personnel.
Wherever they go, wildfires consume everything at a temperature that can melt cast iron. But the flame will not be everywhere. As if according to some magical plan, they jumped around, leaving large irregular tree blocks intact, providing refuge and seed sources for wild animals, adapting to altitude and humidity, and refilling the burned area next door.
The aftermath of these fires is like a terrifying battlefield, a monochrome world of black and gray. Firefighters dressed in bright yellow or orange carried backpacks and shuttled through the destruction. Tree stumps that store combustible sap and asphalt often turn into underground furnaces, emitting a hot red glow inside and making a miniature roar, which the staff submerged before igniting a new flame.
But in the arrangement of forest life, even if the air is full of smoke, a new life has already begun. The tree species in the western forest are reincarnated. First, the ones that need the most sunlight appear. Their pine cones may have been sitting on the forest floor for generations, waiting for the intense but short heat of the fire to melt their sealant and release the seeds, which find a lot of nutrients in the ashes.
Later, the seeds of species that need shade will drift in with the wind, waiting for the right combination of moisture and light, and then begin to compete and eventually shade the pine pioneers.
This is an amazing cycle, it takes more than a century to pass through today’s smoldering former forest, far longer than any of these politicians prance in their photos.
Joe Biden told the governors this week that he has developed a bold strategy to fight wildfires. The first step he promised is to hold an annual wildfire briefing with them like this week. Since there is no more expenditure, Biden’s media event will not be a one. He said that he increased the salary of federal firefighters from $13 to $15 per hour.
Then the President of the United States revealed his priorities and ignorance. “Wildfire,” Biden clearly declared, “is not a partisan phenomenon.”