Photographed from my deck the Mendocino “River” fire came to within two miles of my home in Lake County, California, but I was not worried as both a half mile natural break and several wineries were between. All have water spray systems to wet vines on frosty nights as well water is 50 degrees Fahrenheit and water takes so much cold to freeze it insures vines will not as long as it keeps coming thus the systems are substantial and can halt the progress of great fires. How did this happen? We can blame the disciples of one man.
John Muir, pronounced “Moo-ir” if vowels are sounded correctly, but pronounced “Mee-oor” by Sierra Club members who then correct us as the first step in their assent to superiority over we “deplorables.” Silly as this sounds, the mechanism is responsible for the disaster that has become California.
In the 1960’s the Sierra Club wailed everything should be “natural” and attacked the billion Dollar timber industry in California. The elected people went for it and put into law every goofy idea the Mackinaw, hiking boots, Carabiner on belt loop goofballs could create.
In the 1969 I went on an overnight hike with a Sierra Club Chapter when I was the West Coast Editor of Popular Photography. The leader did not know how to use a magnet compass to account for magnetic declination and choose correct trails. It took a heated discussion and map demonstration to pick the right course! I was shaken to see how “out-of-it” these people were. That incident told me much about said Sierra Club.
Before the Sierra Club timber harvesting was done taking only mature trees while clearing brush for access. Cleared brush roads are fire breaks which isolate lightning strikes or campfire ember flareups thus eliminating fires as a by-product of commercial logging, but capitalism hating folks could not admit the truth!
Logging mills are now closed as the State will not allow cutting enough logs to keep them open so we import lumber from Canada, adding greatly to the cost of homes and destroying the economy of every small town in the northwest. Without logging forest fires are much larger, thousands of homes are destroyed every year and there are far fewer trees!
Much of this happens on BLM, Bureau of Land Management land which the Federal government refers to as “Federal Land,” but it is not as they have not paid for it. The “BLM” claims deny the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution per Amendment Five, “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This also opens the question to much of the use of state lands the Federal government has taken in every state, sealed off from public use without Constitutional compensation.
The timber industry could be the solution to this problem by thinning forests and cutting brush for access roads cut to make fire breaks. Environmental organizations refuse to see this wisdom as the best use of our forests as they prefer seeking power, publicity and reverence for “saving the planet!”
Thousands of homes and hundreds of lives have been lost in this insanity much of which can be attributed to Governor Jerry Brown, a man who with no training in forestry or physical science can only listen to the loudest voices leading the largest number of votes driven by people with no capacity for clear thinking, as I have well seen in the field at personal risk. Had I not convinced that group on the one overnight hike I took with the Sierra Club that their orienteering was wrong we all could have been killed.
Jerry Brown is not alone in seeking public acclaim for his leadership when it is painfully obvious that he, like some Sierra Club people, cannot read a compass or listen to reason. It is just more Beach Boys “California Dreamin’.”