Facts don’t matter
The world is boiling hot and that causes forest fires. We aren’t going to let actual facts come in the way!
California’s wildfires are a serious matter, but the official record of the United States shows forest fires in the US today are far below the annual average in the 1930s and 1940s.
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.