> The California Air Resources Board restricts prescribed burns to days when pollution is at acceptable levels and the weather likely to disperse emissions from fire. In practice, this means that burning can occur only during a few weeks in the spring. In summer and autumn—the seasons when forests would burn naturally—the state’s air usually falls foul of the Clean Air Act. These are also the months that are most prone to uncontrollable wildfires, whose smoke is far more damaging to human health than that from prescribed fire. But, perversely, because wildfires are classified as natural catastrophes, their emissions are not counted against legal quotas.
I'm open to burning at the right time, and that might be when smog is high, but I suspect that's not the only/best time for effective prescribed fires.
Isn’t the obvious thing here to make a patch so it supports the thing we want?
Meanwhile it is interesting how many of the problems we face are principally cultural in nature. Just as the “dense, dark European forest” isn’t actually healthy in California, there are a great many other aspects of contemporary life in the US, especially in the Southwest, that are not healthy, but are cling to by most people as part of their cultural narrative. Monoculture grass lawns and parking lots at every destination come to mind, but there are many, many examples.
I wonder if and when we’ll ever learn effective ways to bring about culture change when called for. It seems like being able to and interested in moving in small increments would be key, but often times the scale of change that the scientists / visionaries / leaders are calling for don’t translate into incremental change in obvious ways. Further, the people leading the charge generally want to see sweeping paradigm shift, and often oppose incremental change as “half-measures.”
These are tough problems to solve, but I’m optimistic that some of the lessons that have become widely known in software world (agile, etc) will be able to productively translate into the broader society.
The answer to this isn't the forest service or the state government. The answer to this is in the private sector.
Instead of making the next facebook how about saving the state from fires that could wipe out its offices?
Is this really the best California can come up with? Does anyone know of any ventures in this space that are up to the challenge?
There is nothing trailblazing about the plan in this article. It's more of an iteration on the same failed policies of the past that got us here in the first place. The forest service is ill suited for this challenge.
You can't throw 10 Elon Musks at a megafire and expect it to put the fire out. The thermodynamics of putting out a huge fire don't make sense. The logistics of preventing any such fire from starting are impossible.
The article is very clear on how we got to this point, and on how this plan is different.
The article spends more time describing the Californian landscape and history of fire fighting than what it proposes as a solution. Good luck keeping up with the super blooms. California is a large state with lots of unreachable areas. Where and when these things start is clearly unpredictable.
Mediocrity at its finest.
We're trying to prevent the huge wildfires, not give some narcissistic idiots platforms for personal aggrandizement while they burn the entire state to the ground.
Prescribed burns work. The problem is that the season is too narrow and the area required too big for existing resources to handle. Private enterprise won't solve that. It will just make everything more expensive and result in less fire prevention activity.
Would love to hear some new ideas in 2019 however, but maybe that's asking too much.
Sure. We just need to find 50 Elon Musks's, and then convince them all to work for the state. Let me know when you have them all lined up ready to go.
It seems to me that part of the problem is that the different parties involved have different needs and resources.
. Homeowners would like to not have their homes burn. They are on 30 yearish investment horizons but buy insurance a year at a time. They are a minority of homeowners in the state.
. Insurance companies want to make a profit but have little to do with forest management. Their only knob is your bill or a cancellation. They are in the position of a health insurance companies who can cancel a sick person's insurance at any time.
. The state .gov is only loosely related to the people, these are not elected officials running the show after all. The urban areas are in charge in any case, just keep the water flowing and the occasional state park for weekends.
. No doubt it's an interesting challenge to the feds, but the occasional town burning down is just a statistic.
. PG&E is not in the fire suppression business whenever possible, keeps costs down, went bankrupt anyway.
It's all at cross purposes.