US Government Starts New Mexico Wildfire, Tells Victims To Help Pay For Damages

The U.S. government started the largest wildfire in New Mexico’s recorded history this April, but is now asking victims to share in the recovery costs, according to Reuters.

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) officials lost control of two controlled burns in April, destroying 341,000 acres and 432 homes in northeastern New Mexico, according to MSN. President Joe Biden claimed that the federal government would cover “100% of the cost” of the disaster, but the disaster declaration ultimately only covered the cost of debris removal and emergency protective measures, leaving many victims stuck with programs that require buy-in to rebuild their houses and other necessary infrastructure, according to Reuters.

Examples of these programs include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA’s Emergency Forest Restoration Program, which require a 25% contribution from the affected landowner, a prohibitively expensive cost for many of the low-income farmers and ranchers in the area, Reuters reports.

Dan Encianis, a rancher from Tierra Monte, just 35 miles northeast of Santa Fe, was originally told by the USDA that he would see “little to no cost” for support to fix the well on his property before being asked to foot 25% of the bill, according to Reuters. Encianias was also told his application would not be processed until September, and work wouldn’t begin for six to 12 months after that.

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Feds Admit Starting Two Fires Now Merged Into Largest In State’s History

Two New Mexico wildfires now merged into the single biggest blaze in the state’s history were both started by a federal government agency, officials admitted Friday.

Both blazes were sparked by “pile burns,” fires set to get rid of wood and debris from thinning and reforestation projects, the Albuquerque Journal reported. Although those fires are meant to be controlled burns, in both cases they have raged out of the control of the Santa Fe National Forest Service. The two wildfires, the Calf Canyon Fire and the the Hermits Peak Fire, have now merged. Between them, they have burned more than 312,00 acres and destroyed nearly 800 structures, including hundreds of homes.

“The Santa Fe National Forest is 100 percent focused on suppressing these fires with the support of the Type 1 incident management teams who are fully prepared to manage complex, all-risk situations,” SFNF supervisor Debbie Cress said. “Our commitment is to manage the public lands entrusted to us by improving the forest’s resilience to the many stressors they are facing, including larger, hotter wildfires, historic levels of drought, rising temperatures, and insects and disease.”

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Feds Caught Deleting Data to Make It Appear That “Climate Change” Causes Wildfires

A federal agency has been caught tampering with historical wildfire data in an obvious effort to make wildfire prevalence and severity appear to be correlated with alleged global warming.

Created in 1965, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) maintains statistics on annual wildfire counts and the number of acres burned in those fires. Until recently, the NIFC posted on its website wildfire statistics for every year since 1926, as evidenced by this Internet Archive screen capture. However, the agency now only posts statistics from 1983 to the present. Why?

“The answer,” asserts climate realist Anthony Watts, “is simple; data prior to 1983 shows that U.S. wildfires were far worse both in frequency and total acreage burned. By disappearing all data prior to 1983, which just happens to be the lowest point in the dataset, now all of the sudden we get a positive slope of worsening wildfire aligning with increased global temperature, which is perfect for claiming ‘climate change is making wildfire[s] worse.

To prove his point, Watts created graphs from both the original data and the now-scrubbed data. The graph of the complete dataset shows that from the 1920s to the early 1980s, there were far more wildfires covering far more acreage than there have been since. The graph of the current NIFC dataset, on the other hand, suggests an increase in both statistics over time.

Another graph generated by Watts sheds further light on the complete dataset. The worst of the wildfires occurred during the 1930–1941 “Dust Bowl” era and again during the 1976–1978 drought in the West. Meanwhile, 1982–1983 saw a “super El Nino” that soaked the western states, causing 1983 to have the fewest and least-destructive wildfires on record. After that, wildfire and acreage counts naturally increased, but thus far they have seldom approached most of the pre-1983 counts and have been far below the counts from the peak years of that era.

Watts traces the history of the NIFC’s public statements on the pre-1983 data and finds a curious pattern: Since Watts’ publicization of the data’s death blow to the claim that “global warming” causes wildfires, the NIFC has cast increasing doubt on the reliability of the older data to the point that it now claims said data is so bad it cannot be posted publicly.

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Deadly California Wildfire Was Ignited To Cover Up A Murder, Sheriff Says

A Northern California blaze in 2020 that became part of one of the biggest and deadliest wildfires in state history was deliberately set to cover up the murder of a woman, officials have revealed. Now the suspect in that killing is also facing charges in the deaths of two fire victims.

Victor Serriteno, 29, of Vacaville, has been in prison awaiting trial in the death of 32-year-old Priscilla Castro, who vanished while on a date with him in August 2020. Her burned body was found the following month near Lake Berryessa in Solano County, about 60 miles west of Sacramento. 

“Based on an extensive eight-month-long investigation, we believe Serriteno deliberately set the Markley Fire in an attempt to conceal his crime,” Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara said at a news conference Wednesday.

The deaths of 82-year-old Douglas Mai and 64-year-old Leon “James” Bone, whose bodies were found near where Castro’s body was discovered, had been blamed on the Markley fire. Those two deaths have now been classified as homicides.

The 30,000-acre Markley Fire merged with other wildfires to become part the massive LNU Lightning Complex blaze, one of the largest ever in California. It burned 363,000 acres, killing six people and destroying 1,500 homes and other buildings.

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California environmental professor argues ‘white supremacy’ is the cause of wildfires and hurricanes

Ted Grudin, who earned his Ph.D. in environmental science from the University of California-Berkeley, wrote an op-ed in the Earth Island Journal last week titled, “How White Supremacy Caused the Climate Crisis.”

In the op-ed, Grudin asserted that “embedded in the theory of racial supremacy is the theory of human supremacy over nature, which has brought environmental calamity upon us.”

As Grudin sees it, white supremacy thrives on the “accumulation of wealth and power” of a select few, namely Caucasians, and the “oppression and destruction” of everyone and everything else. White people, he argued, have historically believed that dominance and control are their “natural rights” and have thus sought to “colonize peoples and lands.”

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FACT CHECK: Forest Fires Aren’t at Historic Highs in the United States. Not Even Close

California wildfires have been in the news in recent weeks. As I noted Thursday, the Golden State is experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory.

Newly updated figures from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection show there have been nearly 8,000 wildfires that have burned more than 3.4 million acres in California. Since August 15, when the state’s fire activity elevated sharply, there have been 25 fatalities and some 5,400 structures destroyed.

Despite widespread news coverage, some have argued many do not appreciate the historic severity of the blazes.

“There are two dozen fires burning right now that singularly would have been the top story on the national news 10 or 20 years ago,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told Robinson Meyer.

Meyer, a staff writer at The Atlantic who covers climate change and technology, says California has already experienced its worst fire season in state history.

In the past few months, one in every 33 acres of California has burned. This year is already the most destructive wildfire season, in terms of acreage affected, in state history. In 2018, during California’s last annus horribilis, I noted that six of the 10 largest wildfires in state history had happened since 2008. That list has since been completely rewritten. Today, six of California’s 10 largest wildfires have happened since 2018—and five of them have happened this year.

Writing at The Week, Damon Linker proclaimed that the fires represent the dawn of an apocalypse. Linker cites Meyers and an unnamed friend in Oregon who said he’s never seen anything like the recent blazes.

“We’ve always had fires in the West, but never like this. We’re choking on smoke and ash. It’s happening this year, it happened two years ago, and it happened two years before that. It never once happened before during my lifetime,” Linker’s middle-aged friend says. “This is definitely a new pattern. And I never heard the phrase ‘fire season’ until a couple of years ago. It certainly wasn’t a thing when I was a kid. I never even saw smoke from a wildfire until I was in my 30s.”

Annie Lowrey, in an article titled “The U.S. Is on the Path to Destruction,” was even more vivid.

“Fires in California and Oregon are incinerating homes, businesses, schools, power lines, and roads,” Lowrey wrote in The Atlantic’s top story on Friday. “Climate hell is here. We cannot stand it. And we cannot afford it either.”

With all due respect to the Cassandras preaching apocalypse and hell on earth, there are two points worth mentioning.

First, as I explained recently, there is widespread agreement that California’s megafires stem largely from decades-long mismanagement of its forests. As The New York Times explainedearlier this month, for more than a century, many firefighting agencies have aggressively focused on extinguishing blazes whenever they occur, a strategy that has often proved counterproductive.

Other parts of the US have shown, the paper said, that less aggressive extinguishing of natural fires and targeted prescribed burning are effective at periodically clearing excess vegetation in forests and grasslands, which essentially serve as the fuel of California’s wildfires.

“The first step is to acknowledge that fire is inevitable, and we have to learn to live with it,” David McWethy, a fire scientist at Montana State University, told the paper.

California has spent decades aggressively preventing fire from doing its natural work, which has made it a virtual tinderbox.

To his credit, Linker at least mentions that “Yes, poor forest management is playing a role” in California’s hot season. But there is a troubling tendency to simply blame the apocalyptic blazes on climate change.

As I pointed out, it’s not unreasonable to assume that both poor land management and California’s high temperatures and arid climate have played a role in the fires. But California is not the only place in America that experiences high temps and dry weather.

Texas actually has more forest and higher temperatures than California, but the Lone Star state rarely struggles with fires, perhaps because 95 percent of its land mass is privately owned and these owners act as responsible stewards of the land.

If climate change was truly the primary culprit of the wildfires, wouldn’t it stand to reason other parts of the US would be suffering similar results? Are there reasons climate change impacts California more than Texas and the Southeast US?This brings me to my second point. There’s a perception that today’s fires are historically unprecedented.

“Even though the U.S. is only halfway through wildfire season, this year is one of the worst in history,” CNBC reported Friday. “Human-caused climate change has made blazes more frequent and intense, especially during extreme heat waves and drought conditions.”

But, the claim that 2020 is one of the worst in US history is simply not true.

A news story making such a claim might start by telling readers how many acres of land have burned in the record-setting year. CNBC doesn’t. One also sees a second problem: most of its charts don’t include information prior to 1990.

Fortunately, data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) offer some answers. So far in 2020, the US has experienced 42,809 total fires that burned a total of 7,015,956. These numbers are indeed above the ten-year average—45,711 fires and 5,963,782 acres. However, 2020 is unlikely to exceed the number of fires or acreage burned just three years ago in 2017.

Many will argue that 2017 was one of the worst fire seasons in US history, a claim that was reported numerous times during the fires season. But Bjorn Lomborg pointed out these claims were also not true.

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Oregon man, freed after using Molotov cocktail to start fire, set six more

An Oregon man was charged with using a Molotov cocktail to start a brush blaze in the wildfire-devastated state — then busted again just hours later for allegedly going back and starting six more, cops said.

Domingo Lopez Jr., 45, was first arrested Sunday afternoon after witnesses told cops he started a fire on the grassy edge of a Portland freeway with an incendiary device made out of a plastic bottle with a wick, the Portland Police Bureau said.

He admitted starting the blaze, which was extinguished without any injuries or property damage, cops said.

Lopez Jr. was booked into jail at 6:45 p.m. Sunday on charges of reckless burning and second-degree disorderly conduct — then released on his own recognizance later that night, court records show.

He was found walking along the edge of the same highway just after 3:30 a.m. Monday as cops joined fire crews to investigate reports of six more fires, Portland police said.

This time, he appeared to start the fires with a lighter, which was seized as evidence, the force said.

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Cops arrest four for arson – including man who LIVE STREAMED fire he is accused of starting – as death toll from wildfires climbs to 29 and Oregon officials warn of ‘mass fatality event’

Four people have been arrested for arson for deliberately starting blazes along the West Coast including one man who livestreamed the encounter on social media as the death toll from the devastating wildfires climbed to 29 and Oregon officials warned they are preparing for a ‘mass fatality event’. 

Two men in Washington state, one man in Oregon and one woman in California are facing arson charges for setting fires in areas that were already grappling with deadly blazes.  

At least 20 have now been killed in California, eight in Oregon and one in Washington state as thousands of firefighters struggle to bring the blazes under control and the governors of California and Oregon told residents to expect more fatalities in the coming days.  

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