Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Global Warming and Forest Fires


Global warming alarmists today remind me of the scientific consensus on controlling forest fires 40 years ago. How many of you recall seeing Yogi Smokey the Bear adverts saying “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”? In fact, as we learned the hard way, fire suppression turned out to be a bad thing. Nature had adapted herself to periodic forest fires. Certain trees had become resistant to harm from low intensity fires but would be destroyed in fires where 50 years worth of fuel had accumulated. Periodic fires cleared the landscape and species that had adapted to freshly cleared ground cover got their turn at bat. Decades of fire suppression set up our forests for disaster.

Similarly, the earth has undergone periodic warming and cooling for hundreds of millions of years. Nature has adapted to that cycle. The environmentalist concern is highly misplaced. The earth and life on the earth is accustomed to these warming/cooling cycles and if we knew as much as we think we know we’d probably know that not only is the ecosphere adapted to these cycles, these cycles are needed for optimum long term health of the ecosphere and biodiversity just like forest ecosystems need regular forest fires for optimum health and biodiversity.

You're gonna hate me for being so pedantic, but it's Smokey Bear, without the "the". ;) Lurker
Wow. Given the quantity and speed at which I write, it had to happen. The Peanut Gallery finally caught me in a mistake. It's Smokey the Bear not Yogi. Mibad. DaveScot
Yogi Smokey the Bear typified the era of 100% fire suppression. The result of that was a buildup of fuel until the forests were tinderboxes ready to explode in catastrophic, uncontrollable fires of epic proportion. So actually, yeah, in hindsight it would have been better if people weren't quite so careful. Regular fires that do little harm except clearing out a bit of undergrowth prevent huge raging infernos that reach into the canopy and destroy everything in their path from happening. Now, because so much forest is dangerously stocked with fuel we have to build artificial firebreaks and do controlled burns when the weather and conditions are perfect in order to get the forests back to the way they should be. DaveScot
How is the Yogi Bear PSA and decades of fire suppression related? Does that mean campers should have left their camp fires burning unattended and smokers should have carelessly flicked their burning butts into the brushes? The two seem to be unrelated to me. MAVickers

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