Global Warming and Environmentalists Blamed for Lake Tahoe Wildfires

June 26th, 2007 11:35 AM

Depending on which newspaper you read Tuesday morning, the wildfires in the Lake Tahoe region of California and Nevada were either caused by global warming or environmentalists.

I kid you not.

In Northern California, just a few hours from the devastation, the number one paper in the region, the San Francisco Chronicle, chose to blame the fires on overdevelopment in Tahoe, and, of course, global warming (emphasis added):

From Gold Rush clear-cutters to modern home-builders, people have brought changes to the Tahoe basin that have fueled the intensity of the 2,500-acre Angora fire near the town of South Lake Tahoe. By Monday night, 178 homes had fallen casualty to the 2-day-old blaze, which was only 40 percent contained.

Ecologists and local residents said they saw such a disaster coming.


Just letting nature handle the recovery isn't an option after 150 years of human activity and mismanagement.

And, of course, this:

The Forest Service's Safford noted that even the climate has come under human influence, as evidenced by global warming and increased forest fires in a dryer, warmer West.

Not surprising, right? However, what is a bit shocking is that a town meeting was held Monday night in Lake Tahoe where citizens voiced their views on the subject as reported by the Los Angeles Times Tuesday (emphasis added throughout):

In all, a crowd of nearly 2,000 people descended on the South Tahoe Middle School auditorium Monday night, wanting to be heard in the face of their losses.

And if there was an object of scorn in the crowd, it was the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a powerful bi-state environmental land use agency charged with managing the resources of the basin.

Remember when Sheryl Crow blamed the recent Los Angeles fires on global warming? Well, listen up, Sheryl:

They said they were angry at bureaucrats and environmentalists who made cutting of trees and clearing of land difficult. There was always too much red tape, they said, and now it was too late.


A common sentiment Monday was expressed by Jerry Martin, a bartender at the Horizon Casino Resort, whose house was still standing, although eight others around it had burned to the ground. He said U.S. Forest Service rules regulating the harvesting of dead trees were too stringent for those living next to government land.

"I hate to get political, but environmentalists wouldn't let us cut down the dead trees," he said.

The amount of fuel in the
Tahoe Basin has reached critical levels after years of discord among environmentalists and government agencies over how to thin forests and reduce the fire threat. And it has led to predictions of a devastating wildfire because the basin is one of the areas with the most fire starts in the Sierra Nevada.

Interesting, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, for some reason, although Bay Area residents are much closer to the fires, the major paper serving the region didn’t mention this town hall meeting, nor did it present the arguments by residents concerning environmentalists.

Instead, people in the Bay Area were led to believe that the fires are all due to overdevelopment in Tahoe, and the media’s favorite culprit for every problem on the planet, global warming.

What a disgrace.