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Why so many fires along the west coast?

Why so many fires along the west coast?

As with many of the issues that seem to divide America, climate change is yet another where the public debate is between left-wing orthodoxy and a strawman argument that the left establishes as the counterpoint.  Unless you believe all three contentions advanced by the left – that the climate is warming, that man is largely responsible, and that we can reverse it without returning to the Stone Age – you are demonized as a climate change denier.

According to those who earn big money scaring the public with doomsday prophecies. They – and they alone – are in possession of the absolute truth even though there is plenty of room for legitimate debate on the second two points.

In the past, I have labeled myself a climate change agnostic.  I do believe that the earth is warming.  But I am open to considering what many scientists with lots of letters behind their names have to say — that mankind’s contribution may not be as significant as claimed.

I more strongly believe that we cannot reach the levels of carbon in the atmosphere without engaging in totally unacceptable measures – such as banning all air travel, stop eating meat and completely ending the use of fossil fuels.

The fires raging along the west coast are a good example of how the left and their media allies manipulate data to scare the public into giving billions of dollars to the scaremongers.  Ponder that point.  Those attempting to stampede the public into spending those billions of dollars are the same people who will be receiving a lot of those dollars.

I would concede that the earth has been in a warming cycle – and that could be contributing to weather patterns making for a drier west coast, higher ocean levels and more powerful hurricanes – at least for the time being.  But to say that climate change is the primary reason for the horrible fires on the Pacific Coast is challengeable – if not totally wrong.

There arguably is a more basic reason for the upsurge – people.

Population growth in the west has meant more people moving further and further in the forest areas.  This means when there are fires, they can cause more destruction and death.  Paradise,
California – which was leveled by the Camp Fire in 2018 was only incorporated in 1979.  Many of the other endangered, damaged and destroyed communities were even newer.

It is not just the fact that so many people put themselves in harm’s way – just like all the folks building on shorelines and in flood plains.  It is more important to understand that the presence of these folks is the primary reason for the rash of fires near their homes.

One data point that gets ignored by the media is the fact that 85 to 90 percent of those hundreds of fires burning up millions of acres are started by … people.  It is the folks who settled in those communities who have caused most of the fires – by tossing a cigarette, starting a campfire and playing with fireworks.  Sadly, also among the people-caused brush fires is arson.

Because all these new residents need electric power, the utility company strings miles upon miles of high voltage cables.  The related transformers attract lightning or just blow upon up their own.

The only other source of ignition is lightning – and that has been going on for millennia.  To look at the data another way, If there were not people-caused brush and forest fires, instead of say 500 serious blazes, there would only be 50-plus – and mostly where people did not settle in big numbers.

People – in this case, environmentalists – have also played a role in the increased devastation of these wildfires.  There has been strong opposition to removing undergrowth and forestation near population centers.  It is just not possible for people on the west coast to live safely too close to nature.  When given a choice between protecting the people or the wildlife, the decision should be easy.

It is conceivable – even likely – that increases in world temperatures are a contributing factor.  But the primary cause of the large number of fires — and the resultant death and destruction — is people.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Doug Litchfield

    Excess fuel loading caused from mismanagement, environmental lawsuits are the major cause of these fires. Can’t cut a tree, can’t graze cattle on range land and heaven forbid a road back into remote areas for for fire suppression. Everything these whack job enviros demand ends up in failure.

  2. Bunky

    Many of the fires here in the Pacific Northwest have been caused by arson. Several people have been arrested and charged. One man in the Portland area was arrested and charged for setting a wildfire, but was immediately released, and was arrested again the same day for setting SIX more fires. Here in Washington, Emperor Inslee has called the fires “Climate Fires”, and has denied that the lax forest policies, which he oversees, have any relationship to the severity of the fires. Larry, I appreciate your position of Climate Change Agnostic. It tells me that your mind is open to consider evidence. For what it’s worth, consider that the climate has varied greatly long before man was a factor.

    • Donald King

      Of course they couldn’t afford to have that gentleman cooped up in a jail cell when he had so much work yet to get completed setting fires and destroying property owned by those stupid conservative capitalists. Also, he’ll be in line for a plush position on the staff of the Pelosi, Harrison, team if Harrison does get elected. Oh, sorry – I forgot to mention sleepy Joe, but he kind of doesn’t count except as a figurehead.

  3. DB

    I hate to say this but God is punishing California, Oregon and Washington (Northern California) for the corrupt and decadent society it has created, the absolute most horrible political govern ship by a family dynasty, an improper maintenance of the lands he gave them.,

  4. Dan Tyree

    DB God did say that he will judge by fire and.

  5. Dan Tyree

    And brimstone.

  6. Pat Porter

    Thank you Larry Horist for a very good and informative article. My first 18 yrs I grew up in the woods, my Dad was a logger and I was taught good forest management practices by him and the other loggers around us. The forest managers for the Yakima Indian reservation had one of the best. They demanded that everything was cleaned up after themselves, if not they had to go back in and get done right. A high school buddy went into forest management, tried to get good practices introduced, upper managers refused to listen and you are now seeing the results. Everything you spoke of and the things I have seen and every people caused fire need to be addressed. Throughout history there have been hot and cool cycles, the the average has changed very little. Thank you again for a great article.

  7. Rey'e

    They can give all the lame explanations that they will, but do they really believe that it is a ‘coincidence’ that nearly the entire west coast is aflame? Remember—-With God there is no such thing as a coincidence. Just as the Bible has always warned us: sins, blasphemy and abominations will destroy a nation. Search and discover what truly transpired in Sodom and Gomorrah. We’ve been struck with hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and fires as never before. Our sins are much greater than Sodom and Gomorrah due to the fact that 87% of the residences in this country have Bibles, which leaves us with no excuse. This valuable resource, Sodom and Gomorrah did not have. On top of that 2 Peter 2 states that Sodom and Gomorrah were set as an example for any nation, from that point forward, who decides to live as they did. It is by God’s amazing Grace the this country has not been annihilated already. It is best to pick up the Bibles, dust them off, read them in their entirety, then repent, fall on our knees and humbly bow before the Lord in prayer. There is no other way except through Jesus, the Son of God.