Dryness and heat, facilitated by human-caused climate change, are responsible for the large wildfires we are currently experiencing in California. It’s not about mature, native habitat.
Unfortunately, in news stories about the fires, you’ve probably heard someone repeating the same misguided claim made during nearly every fire, as if it explains everything: “The area hasn’t burned in years!” Other than being usually incorrect, the claim supports the false narrative that if we could just get rid of all this “fuel,” via prescribed burns or other habitat removal methods, these fires wouldn’t happen.
In fact, NPR had a story yesterday that said exactly that. They unfortunately also engaged in cultural appropriation of Native Americans to do so. We doubt the reporter even looked at what was actually burning.
A more accurate perspective on the use of fire by Native Americans can be found here.
What’s Really Happening – A lot had burned in the past 10 years
Our colleague, Bryant Baker, did an excellent job investigating the issue of blaming-habitat-for-fire and has assembled the following facts.