Dry weather continues to fuel historic wildfires in California, rains bring new dangers to Pacific Northwest

By Kevin Martinez
21 September 2020

Predicted rainfall this week is expected to aid firefighting efforts in parts of Oregon and Washington that have seen thousands of residents evacuate in the face of advancing infernos the last two weeks. Dry weather, however, is expected to continue in California, where officials warned that the higher temperatures could elevate the fire danger in the days ahead.

In Oregon, the Beachie Creek Fire has burned over 190,00 acres and is only 20 percent contained, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. A new danger in the form of mudslides has prompted the National Weather Service in Pendleton, Oregon to tweet, “Recently burnt ground has a better chance of erosion/mudslides. Know when you are in relation to them.”

California alone has seen more than 3.4 million acres burn and 26 people die, including a firefighter who was killed near the El Dorado Fire. Thousands more have been forced to leave their homes and many will not have a home to return to.

Firefighter Cody Carter battles the North Complex Fire in Plumas National Forest, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The Bobcat Fire is still burning in Southern California, prompting new evacuations over the weekend. According to the US Forest Service, the fire has burned more than 93,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest area and is only 41 percent contained. Officials ordered those living around Juniper Hills, a community just north of the national forest, to evacuate due to the fire’s rapid growth.

A fire in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, started on Thursday and has already grown to 1,200 acres. The Snow Creek Fire is zero percent contained as of this writing and has forced a nearby community to evacuate.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported 79 large uncontained fires burning across the Western United States as of Friday. Together, they have burned more than 5.8 million acres and have killed at least 35 people.

Since the start of 2020, California has seen almost 7,900 fires destroying or damaging a total of 6,200 structures, according to Cal Fire.

Democrat Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, recently declared that climate change was responsible for the worsening fires saying, “The fundamental facts cannot be denied. The trendlines are not going in the right direction.”

Despite this rhetorical concern for the environment, the Democratic Party has not implemented any significant measures to stop the progressive worsening of the seasonal wildfires, year after year. Vice-Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, California’s junior Senator, visited the state last week to stage a photo-op in front of a burnt elementary school and was joined by Governor Newsom.

Harris said to the media, “Sadly, these wildfires and the devastation they cause are utterly predictable.” She added, “This is not a partisan issue. Ideology should not kick in. It’s just a fact. This is just a fact... And we have to do better as a country.”

The fact that Harris admitted that the fires were predictable is an unintentional indictment of the Democratic Party, which has dominated California’s political system, along with much of the West Coast of the US, for decades.

Currently, the Democrats control 61 out of 80 seats in the California State Assembly. The arguments of identity politics are also discredited, as every California Senator since 1993 has been a woman. Despite a more “diverse” state government, the issue of climate change has not been seriously addressed by either Democrats or Republicans.

Harris recently introduced a climate “equity” legislation last month alongside Democratic Representative Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez dubbed the Climate Equity Act. The toothless proposal, were it ever passed, would merely create an “Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability” within the Office of Management and Budget and require the government to “consider” the impact of environmental regulation on low-income communities.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also recently unveiled the Environmental Justice for All Act, which would require the Environmental Protection Agency to “consider” the impact of pollution before issuing permits in already environmentally suffering communities.

Biden also announced a $2 trillion climate plan, which would put aside 40 percent of clean energy and infrastructure benefits to “historically marginalized communities.” The plan would span over 4 years and have as its goal the ending of carbon emissions from US power plants by 2035.

In his visit to California recently, President Trump blamed the wildfires on lax forest management but spared man-made climate change. Biden responded by calling him a “climate arsonist” whose refusal to acknowledge the science behind global warming was “unconscionable.”

Such pandering to youth and environmentalists is a desperate attempt by the Democrats to cover up their own record of service to big business, while doing practically nothing to reverse climate change or reduce pollution. Under Newsom, the number of permits issued for oil and gas drilling in California rose 190 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same time last year. The United States became the world’s number one producer of oil during the second term of the Obama administration, with the expansion of disastrous fracking techniques and the opening of new areas for offshore drilling. Nothing in the so-called “Green New Deal,” were it ever passed, challenges capitalism, the main driver of ecological destruction in the world today.