It always amazes me when the national media will take a single word like ‘rake’ and make such a big deal out of it. After raking the president over the hot coals for comments made at Paradise Valley, he was actually on point about the need for annual underbrush spot burning and logging to properly manage the forest the way nature has always done. The ultra-extreme environmentalism of California’s government in Sacramento has as much responsibility for the fires as PG&E’s lack of maintaining their electrical towers and easements through the mountain ranges.
The cost of this catastrophe in human lives and personal property is off the charts primarily because of the infringement of humans and all their ‘stuff’ into the beautiful valleys of California. From the Delta fires to the Napa fires to the Malibu fires, everyone was more intense then the previous because of the excess fuel on the ground. It cannot be blamed on ‘poor’ management of the wilderness but it can be the result of no management of the ground cover or the grasslands. When the natural biota has been violated, this is the what happens.
Extreme environmentalism is also hindering California’s transition to cleaner energy solutions to generate electricity. Starting with hydroelectric, California banned damming the rivers of the Sierra Nevada for water management and clean power generation starting in the 1970s. It was more important to save the habitat for the silvery minnow than to store water for the natural drought seasons. Nuclear was then the better choice over hydro, until 1979 when the Three Mile Island accident happened and without any scientific justification, California banned clean nuclear energy too.
With only one nuclear power plant left for 10 percent electricity and 16 dammed river sources for 21 percent electricity, the state is now relying on intermittent wind and solar with natural gas as a backup for clean energy, as well as purchases from electricity utilities from other states using high voltage transmission lines across the forested lands. It is those transmission lines that have cause several major fires in California.
There is a need to decentralize the national electrical grid with localized nuclear power stations.