Don’t call it “Wildfire Season.”

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 25, 2013
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“Wildfire Season is upon us.”

Smoke travels fast—even one or two states away. Even on the plains below the mountains, air is thick, hazy, local governments advise children on summer break to stay indoors. Homes and even towns are destroyed. Pets and sometimes human lives are lost. Millions of dollars is spent fighting the fires, and millions more is spent rebuilding homes and lives.

But there is no Wildfire Season.

Wildfires are far worse, and rains far the lesser. Calling it a season belies the fact that

1. when I was a boy (not so long ago!) we used to get rains in Boulder the afternoon just about every day. Now we go 30 or 40 days at a time without rain.
2. that millions upon millions of pine trees have died in only a few years affecting Republicans and Democrats alike,
3. and that you and I—and everyone we know—created this season by driving, by running AC with the doors open, by leaving lights on, by creating Climate Change
4. that while wildfires have always happened, often to devastating effect, now—like hurricanes and floods—they happen with ferocious regularity and strength.

To end on a happier note, pretty soon there won’t be any trees left to worry about!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


3 Responses to “Don’t call it “Wildfire Season.””

  1. Thaddeus1 says:

    I'm sorry to say Waylon that this characterization of wildfires belies a certain lack of understanding of the ecosystem and fire dynamics that have played out over these western states long before any of us were here.

    Undoubtably, the shifts in climate and the hand of "man" on the landscape (prehistoric, historic and modern) have contributed to a tenuous situation, the fact remains that there are currently more trees dotting our hills, valleys and mountains than in almost any time in the past. In fact, the sheer number of trees is partly to blame for the "devastation" that we see.

    To subtly insinuate that wildfires are somehow enemies of the forest which will ultimately wipe-out the trees amounts to little more than sensationalism and fear mongering and is the sort of rhetoric that does very little to provide elephant readers with an informed and nuanced understanding of fire's role on the landscape.

  2. samitee says:

    "while wildfires have always happened, often to devastating effect, now—like hurricanes and floods—they happen with ferocious regularity and strength".

    Utter nonsense. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 2013 is the quietest fire season on record in the United States.

    The large fires we've had in Colorado this year and last year are due to insane fire suppression policy and have nothing to do with carbon dioxide, air conditioners or climate change.

    Furthermore, the United States is currently experiencing the longest period since the civil war without a major hurricane making landfall. During President Grover Cleveland’s 2 terms in office, 27 hurricanes made landfall in the US, including one with 155 MPH winds which wiped Indianola, Texas off the map.

    By contrast, Obama has had only 3 hurricanes in the US during his 2 terms. Please do some basic research before posting such wild claims that have no basis in fact.

  3. samitee says:

    Well said, and I agree. Fires happen. Fires are an important part of the forest's ecosystem and they are necessary for healthy forests. There are no more devastating fires today than there were before. The problem is that the fires are larger due to fire suppression policy where we don't let fires run their natural course. This causes more fuel to build on the forest floor which results in larger fires.

    "Wildfires are far worse"

    The National Interagency Fire Center says otherwise. Go to their website and you will see for yourself that 2013 is the quietest fire season on record (so far).