The California wildfires have consistently been in the news, but the Mendocino Complex fire is currently the largest wildfire in the state’s history.
Many are wondering what could be done to prevent a similar fire from happening, and even President Donald Trump tweeted his concerns about the wildfire:
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018
While his tweet was extremely vague, there is one aspect that the president could potentially have gotten right.
In 2012, The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration approved a rule that essentially restructured the Department of Agriculture.
Under the leadership of then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “the Obama administration finalized a rule governing the management of 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands, establishing a new blueprint to guide everything from logging to recreation and renewable energy development.”
While it is extremely important to take care of our land and preserve as much natural forest as possible, this rule overwhelmed the timber industry with regulations and improper forest management, causing forests to become overgrown and heightening the risk of widespread fire.
Years of bad policies and overgrowth may be the cause of the increase in fires, and hopefully, through returning to proper forest management, we will see a decrease in the years to come.