Wildfire Season Smashes Records — and the Media Keeps Blowing the Story


The total acreage burned by wildfires so far this year now exceeds the total acreage burned in any year since records started being kept in 1960. As of September 13, some 8.7 million acres have burned –an area nearly twice the size of New Jersey. This exceeds the record set just last year of 8.5 million acres.

But much of the media seems unwilling to even mention the possibility that this record has anything whatsoever to do with global warming. As Climate Progress noted in August, the New York Times neglected to mention this possibility in its major wildfire story, even though the cover story of Science magazine the previous week was on research establishing the global warming-wildfire link.

The current story by the Associated Press, reprinted in the Times and the Washington Post today, offers this as the entire explanation:

Federal officials attributed the increase to two consecutive seasons of hot and dry weather that left forest and ranges parched and easily ignited by lightning.

It has been “hot and dry.” Thanks for clearing that up major media.

9 Responses to Wildfire Season Smashes Records — and the Media Keeps Blowing the Story

  1. […] may be linked to global warming. Scientific studies published last month support the link. But the media is ignoring the story.   12:41 pm | Comment (0) […]

  2. […] We can expect more and worse wildfires as global warming continues, as well as stronger hurricanes. Arctic ice is shrinking drastically. Thanks, President Bush, for taking absolutely no action on this issue. Note this from the first link: The total acreage burned by wildfires so far this year now exceeds the total acreage burned in any year since records started being kept in 1960. As of September 13, some 8.7 million acres have burned –an area nearly twice the size of New Jersey. This exceeds the record set just last year of 8.5 million acres. […]

  3. nostrafarious says:

    We are literally in a world of shit. Between Religious apocalyptical nutcases (Xtian, Muslim, etc), Chimpy McNazi, Corporate rape of everything, and global destruction, can anyone believe we stand a snowball’s chance in hell? I don’t think so. I just hope we can avoid all being placed in concentration camps (oops, I mean Detainment).

    Bush = Evil
    Silence = Death

  4. Weather, Water, Energy 9-14-06…

    …While the Spanish can make the link between climate and warming with ease, Climate Progress points out how hard it is for US media to add 2 and 2……

  5. […] Being in insurance as I am, when we have a record wildfire season I notice. Scientists have linked it to Global Warming, but the media is ignoring the story. Why is that? […]

  6. […] It is no coincidence that 2006 was also a record-breaking season for wildfires in the American West. Like Katrina last year, this is just a glimpse of a world with global warming run amuck, a world of wildfires and floods — “Hell and High Water” — and a world that is our fate unless we finally take this challenge seriously. […]

  7. jeffrey learned says:

    We are both the “invasive species” and the “fire insurance.”

    As long as humans put themselves above the environment, as if the wildland urban interface is our playground where we can live in our picture postcard dream home (with fire insurance), then “we” are the invasive species. When we declared war on fire a hundred years ago and labeled (for the records) fire “evil,” we lost touch with our “purpose” as human beings. As a wildland firefighter ceritified in many areas in wildland fire operations as a “single resource,” it is clear to me that we humans are out of touch with why we are here on this planet. We invade other countries out of selfishness and greed. We invade the forests out of selfishness and greed. We invade other human and animal “spaces” out of selfishness and greed. Like the fuels that have built up in our forests because of prolonged fire suppression, the same insatiable human appetite for more and more, with disregard for the effects, has reached the point of an inevitable catastrophic (economical, social & environmental) collapse.

    We are out of touch with who we are as a cuture. We are out of touch with what we are and why we are. We are more concerned with buying more useless material items while staying in debt, rather than taking responsibility for the well being of everything around us. Those who choose to live in a wildland urban interface to satisfy personal motives need to snap out of DENIAL (a contageous dis-ease that is running rampant throughout this culture) and learn to become “Stewards of the Land.”

    What is your relationship with the Land? What did the land look like before fire suppression became the policy of a corrupt government owned by greedy corporations? What did the land look like before European settlers “invaded” this country?

    Fire was once a natural part of our landscape. Low intensity fire helped maintain balance and order in the forests and kept forests “healthy and biodiverse.” (Many Native Americans understood this principle and, prior to the arrival of European settlers, practiced “prescribed burning” methods that supported the health of themselves AND the health of the forests and animals.) However, that knowledge was lost when the European settlers came to understand “timber” as a valuable commodity and perceived fire as “evil” and actually declared war on it. (Good old Smokey the Bear became the perfect propoganda prop to further their cause.) Unfortunately, without low intensity fire to keep forests healthy and diverse, we now have a catastrohpic problem on our hands. The amount of acummulated “bio mass” needed to be removed from our forests, to help nature recover somewhat, is MASSIVE! Like the Karma that will come to all Americans for, directly or indirectly, invading and destroying other peoples cultures, a similar Karma is now at our doorstep.

    You want fire insurance? Look inside yourself. Learn to connect to your true nature and how that supports and nourishes your environment…the land your home is on. Each and everyone of us has a purpose on this planet, unrelated to the fashionable addictions most Americans have to any and everything that keeps them constantly preoccupied with being busy doing absolutely nothing worthwhile.

    We each need to realign ourselves with our purpose and mission in life; not to serve ourself (always first), but to serve the greater good of all living creatures. Time is growing short on all fronts. Our forests need to be intelligently and carefully “thinned” (leaving all old growth) with mimimum impact on the sensitive ecosystem. Low intensity fire must follow. Therapy for the forests will be therapy for ourselves. They go hand and hand, limb and limb. (Channel the billions of dollars allocated to an illegal war, by a corrupted administration, towards hiring a few million “poor” people to recover our forests. It’s a “win-win” situation.)

    Time to make a stand for something good, anything. Either this makes sense or it doesn’t. The lines are being drawn. Whether you are rich or poor, it does not matter. What does matter is what side you choose to align yourself with?

    A fully functional and dedicated “Steward of the Land,” steeped in principles gleaned from Nature (and not the corrupted corporations), is the only true “fire insurance” there is. Our ability to positively Steward the Land is the “fire insurance” policy that the old growth forest has always expected from us, as a coherent human race. The policy expired over the last hundred years. Time to renew it for the sake of the forest and ourselves?

    Jeffrey Learned

  8. islandrat says:

    The Santiago Fire currently burning in Orange County, California was started last Sunday by an arsonist. I’m not sure how arson behavior can be attributed to Global Warming but with enough money someone should be able to make the connection.

  9. Schrmin says:

    You don’t need any money to make the connection, islandrat, you just need some basic understanding of environmental science, and the willingness to actually cast aside your preconceived prejudices and listen.

    Regardless of the cause of the fire, whether it’s some idiot with a lighter, a cigarette thrown out of a car, an improperly extinguished campfire, etc., the result is the issue that needs to be focused on.

    Read the following article, it sheds light on the connections:

    “Global warming makes wildfires more likely and more destructive — as many scientific studies have concluded. Why? Global warming leads to more intense droughts, hotter weather, earlier snowmelt (hence less humid late summers and early autumns), and more tree infestations (like the pine beetle). That means wildfires are a dangerous amplifying feedback, whereby global warming causes more wildfires, which release carbon dioxide, thereby accelerating global warming.”

    “Southern California is experiencing the ‘driest year in 130 years of recordkeeping,’ precisely the kind of extreme weather event we expect from climate change. We are seeing record droughts around the country — and around the world.” “….we aren’t just seeing bad wildfires, we are seeing record-shattering wildfires. The 2005 wildfire season, which ravaged 8.7 million acres, was record-breaking, and the record it broke was from 2000, when wildfires consumed 8.4 million acres. The 2006 wildfire season easily surpassed 2005, with a stunning 9.9 million acres burned. The 2007 wildfire season is also on a pace to beat 2005.”

    Scientists have long predicted that one of the primary effects of climate change on California is an increase in the frequency and severity of wildfires, among other major impacts too numerous to list here…look it up. It’s not that climate change is the only reason for these fires…as with all other environmental problems, there are usually multiple contributing factors.

    Inform yourself, think critically, stop buying into the bs that the talking heads on TV are selling you. The science is out there, has been for a good 20 years, and no one in the scientific community argues any of this…all the argument has been manufactured by the powerful moneyed interests…standard story…greed and ignorance. Do us all a favor and get yourself an environmental science textbook, read and learn, and then DO something about it!