Vol: 73 Issue: 26 Friday, October 26, 2007
Firefighters are beginning to gain ground against the massive southern California wildfires that have so far scorched a half-million acres of prime California real estate, destroyed at least 1,800 homes, injured 82 and killed seven, so far.
As of yesterday evening, some 12,465 refugees from the fire had taken shelter in the 45 evacuation centers set up in the affected counties.
In the worst fire, about 197,990 acres in northern San Diego County from Witch Creek to Rancho Santa Fe have been destroyed, together with almost 1,100 homes, 30 commercial properties, 175 outbuildings and 230 vehicles. Another 1,100 homes and businesses are still threatened.
Altogether, there are about twenty separate, named wildfires burning, in a half-dozen counties, many of them still uncontained. In San Diego County, there are the Witch Poomacha, Horno/Ammo, Harris and Rice fires; the Ranch Fire in Ventura, the Santiago Fire in Orange County, the Slide and Grass Valley Fires.
The Buckwheat, Canyon, Magic and Meadowridge Fires in Los Angeles County were declared ‘contained’, as were the Rosa and Roca fires in Riverside, the Cajon, McCoy, Coronado Hills and Wilcox fires in San Diego County, the Nitesky in Ventura and the Sedgewick Fire in Santa Barbara.
Even before the wildfires had names — and before some of them had even started, NBC News declared them to be the result of global warming. (Why not? If the Secretary-General of the UN can blame global warming for an Islamic-sponsored, systematic genocide against non-Muslims in Darfur, why not wildfires? At least the wildfire theory makes some sense — at least on the surface).
Standing in smoldering ruins of a home in San Diego County, anchor Brian Williams introduced the story: “This has been the driest season on record, unusually severe, that’s leading some people here to wonder: Are these fires somehow a result of climate change? The UN panel on global warming did warn that we would see more wildfires, so is there a real connection?
After reporter Anne Thompson cautioned; “Scientists say you can’t know after just one season” whether warming is to blame, Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer, a leading global warming alarmist who, NBC failed to mention, serves as a science adviser to Environmental Defense, reasoned:
“The weather we’ve seen this fall may or may not be due to the global warming trend, but it’s certainly a clear picture of what the future is going to look like if we don’t act quickly to cut emissions of the greenhouse gases.”
Undeterred by her own warning label, NBC’s Thompson summarized it thusly:
“A new study out this week suggests the impact of climate change could be stronger and sooner than expected. And one of the predicted impacts from climate change could be more wildfires.”
She added: “The wildfires are just one example of this fall’s extreme weather: Tornadoes in Michigan, a lack off fall color in the Carolinas, the spectacular foliage muted by drought and warm temperatures….And here in Minnesota’s twin cities, they are still awaiting the first official frost.”
It puts me in mind of another scene from the Wizard of Oz — the one where Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow walk through the dark, scary woods chanting,
“Lions and tigers and bears. . . Oh my!”
(It says something when the two works of literature the headlines most often bring to the front of my mind are the Bible and the Wizard of Oz. Not sure what.)
CBS put a new twist on the wildfires, finding a way to blame global warming, the environmentalist movement AND the firefighters at the same time.
Katie Couric brought together Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and professional ‘expert’ John Blackstone and several other experts to discuss how it is everybody’s fault.
Blackstone explained that the fires are; “A problem that gets worse as the earth gets warmer. Fire ecologist Tom Swetnam has a collection of tree rings that reveals thousands of years of climate history. He told Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes that global warming means a longer fire season.”
Then Thomas Swetnam, identified as a “Fire Ecologist’ speaks up, adding, “The fire season in the last 15 years or so has increased more than two months over the whole western U.S.”
Blackstone adds, “Add to that, a whole lot more fuel to burn, a result of a hundred years of fighting fires. . . Firefighters are trying to keep up with the megafire threat, a threat that won’t go away in a warming world, and a growing West.”
ABC’s Claire Shipman tried to blame the fires on Arnold Schwartzeneggar. The Governator took her by the hand, on camera, looked her square in the eye and said, “Trust me when I tell you, you’re looking for a mistake and you won’t find it because it’s all good news, as much as you maybe hate it, but it’s good news.”
(It’s all good news. . . it’s all good news. . . it’s all good news. . . )
Clearly flustered, Shipman wrapped up her report by telling ABC’s viewers, “So the Governor is positive, but practical.” (It’s all good news. . . it’s all good news)
Since George Bush wasn’t actually standing there, Shipman recovered enough to suggest that hopefully, we’ll be able to blame George Bush.
“[The Governor] actively encouraged President Bush to come out here as soon as possible. He knows that despite the disruption this presidential visit will cause tomorrow, it will keep the federal government and all of its resources focused on California, ideally hoping to stave off any Katrina-like situations.
(Blame Bush? Hey, maybe it really will be all good news!)
Evidently, the major networks were so busy looking for various ways to heap blame on the government, either through global warming, direct federal mismanagement, overly successful firefighters and/or George Bush (nobody else tried to blame the Governator after Shipman) that they didn’t hear about the arson(s).
In Orange County, police say they are certain that a fire that destroyed nine homes was man-made. Investigators from the FBI were called in to inspect three different ignition points.
In San Bernadino, police shot and killed one man and took another into custody and charged him with setting a brush fire there.
Another blaze, in Temecula, is also being treated as suspicious, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Another person was actually caught in the act of setting a fire on a hillside and fleeing on a motorcycle before being caught by police and taken into custody. Altogether, there have been five arrests for arson so far, and police expect more arrests.
(What? You mean it wasn’t the federal government or global warming?)
Well, it could be. If the arsonists were American.
Then they are part of America — and we, the people are responsible for making them social misfits who were unhinged by the dangerous and environmentally irresponsible policies of the warmongering Bush administration and set the fires as a desperate cry for help.
That would wrap it up nicely.
The man police shot and killed was an American from Kingman, Arizona named Russell Lane Daves.
Another suspect is identified only as a 41 year-old ‘Guatemala native’. No information regarding the background of any of the other suspects has been released.
The one possibility that everybody is avoiding is that of any connection with terror. Arson, maybe, but the preferred choices are global warming, George Bush and human existence in general.
About the only ones who are even suggesting the possibility are WND and Fox News. (A Google search on the keywords “California arson terror” returned a cluster of only six stories, most of which were castigating Fox for even hinting at a connection.)
This seems odd to me. Wildfire arson is a perfect terror tactic, and almost foolproof. Using a timed ignition device somewhere deep in the woods, a terrorist could be back in Tehran in time to watch the breaking news reports.
Why wouldn’t a terror attack be the first possibility explored? Or at least among the first.
One would think that blaming Osama bin Laden without evidence should come at least slightly ahead of blaming George Bush or the Governator in advance for the mistakes they haven’t made yet.
But the very last place the media would think to look would be Islamic terror. What if it turns out that it wasn’t Islamic-inspired terror?
Well, what if it turns out it wasn’t George Bush, Governator Arnold, or global warming?
Meanwhile, while the media fiddles, California continues to burn.