Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guess who caused Colorado's Wildfires?

Eight years ago, four major hurricanes blew through Central Florida, toppling thousands of trees and sending debris all over our peninsula.  Yet, after each storm passed you would have thought that somehow, magically, the Magic Kingdom had been spared.

That is because the Disney Corporation sent workers out with chainsaws, trucks and probably brooms to clear everything the hurricanes left behind with blinding efficiency.  Within a couple of days tourists could travel safely to any Disney Park and not even be bothered by the unsettling sight of hurricane-damage, much less actual tree limbs lying in the road.

Outside of Disney - where the local and state governments were in charge, weeks dragged on with snail-like efficiency as the "experts" tried to manage the cleanup.  They did manage alright.  They managed to allow human misery to extend well into the summer as a result of two key missing ingredients to a successful cleanup.  More on that later....

This summer, forest fires are ablaze all over the western United States with no end in sight.  As I am typing this sentence, more than half of all airborne fire-fighting equipment in the U.S. is currently in the state of Colorado.  This beautiful state is turning into ashes and somwhere around 103.27% of the blame lies with government bureaucrats. 

Of course we have all heard that lightning, the pine bark beetle and human carelessness caused these fires.  But ask yourself a question.  Why are all of the fires originating on government lands? 

We don't see the fires starting on private land and spreading to state and federal forests.  We see only the opposite.

This gets us to why this is the case.

Private land owners - especially timber companies and other large landholders - have the right motivation to keep their land free of fire-risk.  If a large timber concern fails to manage its forests properly by clearing dead trees and underbrush, the company will face the consequences of higher fire danger, lost trees (translation: lost money) and economic disaster.

On the other hand, what motivation does the federal government have to do the same thing?  Profit?  Nope.  Love?  Give me a break.  The desire to be efficient?  Have you been to your local tag office or public school lately?

The not-for-profit Forest Service has no overriding motivation to be efficient or even remotely competent because it faces no consequences for failing to do so.  Unlike the private companies who do not want to lose money and therefore must perform well, the government knows that if dead trees from a beetle are not cleared out, or if underbrush is not tended to it will not matter how many homes are burned as a result.  The Forest Service is funded through the forced taking of our incomes and as long as that force is omnipresent, it can allow thousands more homes to be destroyed and still be funded in the future.

Attached to this blog is a short video-clip that I believe clearly illustrates the fact that there is nothing we can count on the government to do well simply because of the lack of motivation and consequences.  Therefore, make sure you have a good water hose if you are reading this anywhere out west.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog post and great video to round it all out.