Thinned Forests Help With Global Warming
The number of acres burned by wildfires has more than doubled. But, the number of fires in the last 27 years was half that during the 1970s-1980s. Wildfires are burning hotter and taking longer to extinguish. This is most likely due to the environmental issue of not allowing forests to be thinned, brush to be cleared from near homes and other buildings, and brush to be thinned through controlled burns.
Fires were more controllable and fewer (if any) homes and other buildings were lost in areas where forest thinning had been allowed and implemented. One such area, Lake Arrowhead, California, was saved by thinning. According to Randall Clauson, the Forest Service’s division chief for the San Bernardino National Forest, “… only a few stumps were burning and no trees were lost. Hundreds of surrounding homes were untouched.” This also freed firefighters and equipment for use in other areas.
In addition to some areas being saved by thinning, more trees and underbrush are lost to raging wildfires than to thinning.
California’s latest fires were started by downed power lines, arson, and welding sparks. Hot Santa Ana winds fanned the flames and drought conditions did not help. But, even though all of these causes and conditions have also been in play over the last 47 years, increased acreage lost to wildfires coincides with the implementation of the environmental bans.
Environmentalists and others are also concerned about carbon dioxide causing and worsening global warming. But, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during wildfires far exceeds anything man could have done in the same timeframe. One major fire can emit in days up to 40 percent of what man causes in a full year.
Forests that have not been thinned in years are also full of older trees (which absorb carbon slower than new trees do) and dead trees. Thinned forests can absorb more carbon, at a faster rate. The older trees also contain more carbon after soaking it in over the years. When these older trees are logged, burning of higher concentrations of carbon is prevented.
The last few years have seen catastrophic wildfires globally, including in the United States, Russia, Canada, Australia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Europe, Ethiopian, and the Mediterranean. It is no wonder that carbon emissions have increased. Man had little to do with it, just as man had little to do with the increases (and ensuing decreases) over the millennia, nor with the global warming / global cooling cycle.