Fire Up Above

McKinney Wild Fire Destruction

Once again it’s fire season here in California. In another lifetime fire season referred to having bonfires on the beach as the evening ocean breezes cooled down the heat of summer, surfboards lined up in a row, a transistor radio blasting the latest Beach Boys hit.

Now it means time to pack your go-bag.

Our current enormous fire is in the far north of the state in Siskiyou county which is just before you cross over into Oregon. I am not in any danger, it’s a good 300 miles away but thank you for being concerned.

Siskiyou county contains Klamath National Forest which the fire, having no regard for manmade borders, began in and has now traveled outside of. Since it’s a national forest the state of California is not allowed to do any fire mitigation there. “We’ll get to it” says the feds.

Nature beat them to it.

Two people have died in the fire which while horribly tragic is actually a very small number for a fire that at last count was consuming 55,000 acres of vegetation and buildings both residential and commercial. This is one of those fires that no matter what steps a homeowner could have taken towards fire abatement it wouldn’t have mattered. Winds have spread the fire causing it to jump over any firebreak humans could have created.

Man plans, god says ha!

Speaking of man made plans, this is pretty much the heart of the State of Jefferson which is really a state of mind with no heart. The State of Jefferson advocates have been at it for seventy some odd years trying to get the northernmost counties in California to join with the southern most counties of Oregon to form a new state. That would make it just a smidge smaller than West Virginia with a population that would be the smallest in the country, but the vast majority of that population reliably conservative.

Their main complaint seems to be that they feel the state legislature pays no attention to them, only to the counties where…um…I had it here somewhere…oh yeah here it is…most people in California live. The city of San Francisco, one of the smaller major cities in the US, has twice as many people as the sought after State of Jefferson.

Yeah that whole majority rules thing sure gets in the way of a fella having a good time. Does it surprise you that those are the counties that overwhelmingly supported Drumpf in both 2016 and 2020? Of course all those “other people” living in actual populous areas made California a runaway for both Clinton and Biden. They are not fans of the federal government, mostly because federal environmental regulations have made logging, two centuries ago the main economic engine, difficult if not impossible.

They are nothing if not wanting to get back to the old days when a man could destroy the environment as he saw fit. Now it takes giant corporations.

I mention all of this only to point out that while those up to the north might not share the politics or values of those of us in the rest of the state, there is not a single person or organization in the state unwilling to help these folks out. Fire equipment, firefighters, food, money is pouring in.

We’re Californians and we help each other out. We’ll have time enough to argue once the fire is out.

Eight of the ten largest wild fires in the state’s history have occurred in the last two years. All ten have occurred in the last ten years. This is despite advanced fire mitigation efforts, constant monitoring, and state of the art fire fighting equipment and techniques.

So what’s different now as compared to years ago? We don’t get as much rain as we once did. Our vegetation dries out, our trees die, and there aren’t enough lumberjacks and removal services in the entire country to clear all that combustible debris. And why don’t we have as much rain?

It’s called climate change. It’s real, it’s deadly, and it’s destroying not just our little section of the world but the entire planet. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any other planet to go to so I’d kinda like to make sure this one is habitable for my remaining years, those of my children, and all future generations.

The by product of climate change is wild fires here in California. In Louisiana and the Gulf Coast it’s hurricanes. In the Midwest it’s torrential rains. In the Northeast it’s “once in a century” blizzards that happen every year.

Call me callous to the wants and needs of corporations whose wanton desecration of the planet has brought this upon us. You won’t make as much money I know so you’ll have to make do with tens of billions instead of hundreds of billions. Here’s an idea if you want to make up some of that shortfall: Get into the business of cleaning up the environment. Plenty of money to be made there. It could be the next gold rush (and Californians know all about gold rushes). All you petrodollar princes in the Middle East you got a lot of open land that gets plenty of sun, how about putting some solar collectors out there?

The climate bill that is hopefully making it’s way to Biden’s desk soon is only a start. It’s time to get ultra serious about making the changes needed to conserve the one and only planet we inhabit. That’s right State of Jeffersonians, the true meaning of being conservative is the desire to conserve that which is good for all. I’d say Earth as a planet is good for all.

So let’s conserve it. We can all do it if we stick together.

Many versions of this song, but I’ll go with the original

Shapiro Out